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Why more young Gen Z adults in CT are living longer at home

With soaring rent prices and inflation rates in Connecticut, now doesn’t seem like a great time for young adults to buy homes. But the trend isn’t just for young adults in Connecticut, according to a recent study.

Nearly a third of Americans between the ages of 18 and 25 – a group known as Generation Z – live at home with their parents or relatives, according to a study by financial platform Credit Karma, which surveyed 1,022 young adults online in June 2022. And at the start of the pandemic, about 2.7 million Americans returned with a loved one, according to analysis by Zillow.

But according to Richard Fry, senior researcher at the Pew Research Center in Washington DC, the Credit Karma results represent less a by-product of the pandemic, and more a decades-long cultural shift, in which more young adults are living at home. longer due to rising housing prices and other socio-economic factors.

“If we compare today to 2019, before the pandemic, [the average] is not lower. It’s just as high. In a sense, it hasn’t peaked relative to its long-term trends,” Fry said.

Julia Morrow, a museum collections assistant with a master’s degree in American studies, has lived with her parents in Hamden since 2019. She said the low pay of entry-level history jobs, coupled with the surge rent prices had made it difficult for him to find affordable housing in Connecticut, and his experience is not unusual.

“Like me, many people I know who live at home have advanced degrees and/or full-time jobs with years of experience in their field,” she said.

Multigenerational households

In 2021, a quarter of adults aged 25 to 34 live in multigenerational households, up 9% from 1971, according to Fry’s study.

Fry said multigenerational housing can also act as a safety net to prevent young people from falling into poverty. According to the Pew Research Center, the poverty level of those living in multigenerational housing in 2021 was lower than those living in other living arrangements. This particularly affects young men without a bachelor’s degree, whose incomes have declined, Fry said.

“For less-educated young men, their inflation-adjusted wages have declined over time, so their ability to live independently due to lower wages has been reduced,” Fry said.

In Connecticut, many young adults still find themselves living with their parents in this multigenerational setting. A 2020 report by employment support service Zippia.com used American Community Survey data from the US Census to measure which states had the highest percentage of 18-34 year olds still living with their parents. CT came in at No. 2 with 41.5%.

The five major states, which included New York, Florida and Maryland, had some of the highest housing costs in the country that year. In Connecticut, housing scarcity in recent years has caused spikes in rent prices, and housing markets in two CT cities are cooling more slowly than the rest of the country.

Housing affordability

Rent in the Bridgeport-Norwalk-Stamford metropolitan area has the third most expensive median monthly rent, according to previous reports from Hearst Connecticut. In February 2022, the median monthly rent in Hartford and surrounding towns was nearly $1,650, an increase of 13.3% over the previous year, according to Realtor.com.

As rent prices in Connecticut rise, renters in the state also need higher income to afford the housing they want.

A tenant in Connecticut must earn $27.80 an hour to comfortably afford a two-bedroom apartment and $22.53 to comfortably afford a one-bedroom apartment, according to a report released Aug. 2.

Regardless of income, prices have still climbed rapidly over the past two years. Jessica Hoover, One Team real estate agent at William Raveis Real Estate, said that during the pandemic, house prices and rents have skyrocketed.

“In addition to people leaving New York, rents have skyrocketed because now you have people who have sold their homes and are now looking for rents that normally wouldn’t have rented. So the demand for rents has increased. And the owners basically knew [they] could charge hundreds of dollars more per month, and [they’d] still fill those spaces,” she said.

Add to that the economic stress of rising student debt as more young adults attend college, Fry said, and affording housing becomes less likely.

Morrow said she stopped looking and thinking about finding her own place after the recent price hikes, but would likely resume her search once the market cools.

“I don’t try to pay more than 50% of my salary in rent, especially when I still have to pay my student loan, car, and other unusual bills,” she said.

Student loan debt

Nationally, student loan debt increased 144% from 2007 to 2020. In 2021, average student debt in Connecticut was $35,853, according to data from the Institute for College Access & Success, placing Connecticut fifth among states in average student loan. debt. Debt also makes it harder for residents to secure a home in Connecticut’s competitive housing market, Hoover said.

“It’s very hard to get into a tenancy these days — you have to have a really high credit score. Your application has to be amazing,” Hoover said. “If you have a high debt-to-income ratio, because you have student loans, that will show up in the application.”

Demographic change

Finances aren’t the only reason young adults might still live with loved ones. Demography, culture and geography also play a role.

“The nation of the past 50 years has become more diverse. And groups that fundamentally gain in size tend to have a higher proportion of young adults living in multigenerational arrangements. And so particularly, the growing groups have been Asian Americans and Hispanics. And those tend to have more young adults living at home,” Fry said.

Jeffrey Jensen Arnett, senior researcher at Clark University, said young Americans are also staying in school longer and marrying later, which can delay housing decisions. As of 2019, Connecticut residents typically marry between the ages of 29 and 31.

Emerging adults are also more likely to prefer living in an urban area for social scene and employment options, he said. A 2022 study found that seven out of 10 adults who grew up in Connecticut stayed in the state, and some of the most popular moving destinations for young adults are New York, Boston, and Washington DC.

Rent prices in urban areas have risen 11.3% over the past year, according to CoStar, a commercial real estate information firm, particularly in areas like New York and Los Angeles. The spike could make it more difficult for young adults to transition out of the home.

“There are lots of restaurants and shops, and there’s lots of entertainment, parks and all kinds of things to do. So they prefer to live in urban areas for that reason, but those places are expensive to live in,” Arnett said.

Arnett said relationships between family members have also become less hierarchical and more friendly, and both family members are happier living together until the young adult can afford their own place. .

For Morrow, living with his parents has improved his mental health and provided him with a stable place to land while finding his place in the world.

“It’s nice to have a base of support. I’m very lucky to have a strong relationship with my parents and my family.”

Additional reporting by Daniel Figueroa IV

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