Millennials and the Economy: Moving Out and Moving On

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In 2016, some 30% of millennials, ages 25 to 34, lived with their parents. That percentage has been cut nearly in half, to 16%, in 2018. In that two-year period, home ownership among millennials has risen from 26% to 40%, while renting has remained unchanged at 43%.

The data were reported last week by consultancy EY (formerly Ernst & Young), which surveyed 1,200 millennials and found that millennials are graduating from college, getting full-time jobs, buying houses and getting married, although at lower rates than their generational predecessors. The 2016 survey included millennials between the ages of 18 and 34, and the 2018 survey included those ages 20 to 36.

According to EY, there’s also some sobering news:

[W]hile Millennials feel more stable economically, they aren’t convinced this stability will last. They have weathered three recessions in their lifetime, and few have confidence the economy will stay strong. Millennials are also facing record levels of student debt.

In 2018, 38% of those surveyed were married, compared to just 27% of those surveyed in 2016. Overall, about 50% of U.S. adults are married today, compared with 72% in 1960. Americans are also getting married later — 27.4 years old for women and 29.5 years old among men — about seven years later compared to 1960, when women married at 20.3 years and men married at 22.8 years.

About 45% of baby boomers and Gen Xers owned their own homes when they were in the same age group as millennials, and 53% of Gen X women had children at the same age, compared to 40% of millennial women.

Home ownership for millennials between the ages of 28 and 31 rose from 27% to 47% in the two-year period to 2018 (ownership of those aged 32 to 36 increased from 46% to 57%). Millennials between the ages of 20 and 23 who live with their parents have declined from 63% in 2016 to 36% in 2018. Renters in that age group have increased from 27% to 44%.

More than 80% of millennials say that student loan debt has forced them to delay buying a house, and EY reckons student loan debt accounts for 35% of the decline in homeownership for Americans in their late 20s and early 30s from the period between 2007 and 2015.

More than three-quarters of older millennials, born in 1987 or earlier, have full-time jobs, compared with 63% of those born between 1991 and 1994 and just 34% of those born between 1994 and 1998.

Pay equity and flexibility are the two top career concerns of millennials. More than half (57%) of single women consider pay equity their top concern, while 53% of married millennials put flexibility at the top of their list and 51% of millennials with children value flexibility most.

Only a third of millennials say that their standard of living will be better than that of their parents, while 24% expect it to be worse. Men are generally more optimistic than women about the future.

Visit the EY website for complete survey results. As Felix Salmon at Axios has noted, however, the more dramatic the differences between any two surveys, the less likely they are to be true. The attitudinal results do make for interesting reading, though, on how millennials view their futures.