The True State Of The Economy: Record Number Of College Graduates Live In Their Parents' Basement

Tyler Durden's picture

Scratch one more bullish thesis for the housing recovery, and the economic recovery in general.

Over the past several years, optimists had often cited household formation as a key component of pent up demand for home purchases. So much for that.

Recall that last August, the WSJ noted that in a report on the status of families, "the Census Bureau said 13.6% of Americans ages 25 to 34 were living with their parents in 2012, up slightly from 13.4% in 2011. Though the trend began before the recession, it accelerated sharply during the downturn. In the early 2000s, about 10% of people in this age group lived at home." It concluded, quite logically, that "the share of young adults living with their parents edged up last year despite improvements in the economy—a sign that the effects of the recession are lingering."

Of course, the "improvements in the economy" were once again confused with the ongoing Fed- and corporate buyback-driven surge in the stock market, which has since been refuted to have any relationship to underlying economic conditions, and instead is merely the key factor leading to record class disparity - a very heated topic among both politicians and economists in recent months.

But going back to the topic of Americans living with their parents, today Gallup reported that 14% percent of adults between the ages of 24 and 34 - those in the post-college years when most young adults are trying to establish independence -- report living at home with their parents. By contrast, roughly half of 18- to 23-year-olds, many of whom are still finishing their education, are currently living at home.

While this is an approximation of the Census Bureau's own results which should be released in a few months, a 14% print in the critical 24-34 age group means that the percentage of college grads (or those otherwise falling into this age group even if uneducated) living in their parents basement has hit a fresh all time high.

As a reminder, this was the most recent visual update from the WSJ as of last year:


Here is what Gallup had to say about this distrubing result:

An important milestone in adulthood is establishing independence from one's parents, including finding a job, a place to live and, for most, a spouse or partner, and starting one's own family. However, there are potential roadblocks on the path to independence that may force young adults to live with their parents longer, including a weak job market, the high cost of living, significant college debt, and helping care for an elderly or disabled parent.


A statistical model that takes into account a variety of demographic characteristics indicates that three situational factors are most likely to distinguish the group of 24- to 34-year-olds living at home from their peers:

  •     They are much less likely to be married.
  •     They are less likely to be working full time and more likely to be unemployed or underemployed.
  •     They are less likely to have graduated from college.

Being married may better explain why young adults move out of their parents' home than why single adults live at home. For those living at home, their situation may have more to do with their job or income status than their marital status. Being single, however, may make living with parents a more feasible option for young adults than it would be if they were married.


Employment status ranks as the second-most-important predictor of young adults' living situation once they are beyond college age. Specifically, 67% of those living on their own are employed full time, compared with 50% of those living with their parents.



The unemployment rate, as calculated by Gallup, among those in the workforce is twice as high for post-college-aged adults living with their parents as it is for their counterparts who are not living with their parents, 14.6% vs. 7.1%.


The underemployment rate, which combines the percentage unemployed with the percentage working part time but wanting full-time work, is 32.8% among those living at home and 15.4% among those living on their own. In other words, among young adults who live with their parents and are working or actively looking for work, nearly one in three are in a substandard employment situation.

The employment observations are not surprising: after all, one would never voluntarily live with their parents into their thirties, unless one was pathologically lazy and unwilling to branch out on their own of course, if the labor situtation in the economy permitted getting a job which allowed one to at least afford rent.

Neither is it surprising that college grads, saddled with a record amounts of student debt, now well over $1 trillion, or more than the total US credit card debt outstanding, is also crushing college graduate confidence about being able to be cash flow positive once they seek to start lives on their own with the associated cash needs.

However, the marriage observation is more disturbing, and goes to the argument of incremental household formation: namely there is none. In other words, that missing link that at least superficially would provide for some semblance of justification for the rise in house prices that had nothing to do with investor demand and offshore illicit cash laundry using US real estate, is gone.

And while this conforms with Gallup's own implications of these data, there is more bad news:

A 2012 report from Ohio State University sociologists showed that it is increasingly common for young adults to live at home with their parents. The high costs of housing and a relatively weak job market are key factors that may force, or encourage, young adults to stay at home.... The biggest impetus for leaving home seems to be marriage, easily the strongest predictor of one's living arrangement among those between the ages of 24 and 34. This indicates that if the marriage rate increases in the future, the percentage living with their parents may decline. Earlier Gallup research suggests that most unmarried Americans do have a goal of getting married someday.


Also, those who have secured full-time employment or have earned college degrees are more likely to have gotten a place of their own to live. An improving job market and economy should lead to a decrease in the percentage of young adults living with their parents.

To sum it up: a record number of college grads are optin not to start a household and instead live with their parents, and just as relevant:

"An improving job market and economy should lead to a decrease in the percentage of young adults living with their parents."

Considering that the percentage of young adults living with their parents is now an all time high, what does that say about the true state of the job market?

He knows the answer.


Update: just hours after we posted this, Gallup released a follow up report that was largely as expected, and confirms the desolate picture beneath the glitzy surface:

Young Adults Living at Home Less Likely to Be "Thriving"


Young adults between the ages of 24 and 34 who live at home with their parents are significantly less likely to be "thriving" than those in the same age group who don't live with their parents.



These results are based on Gallup Daily tracking interviews conducted from Aug. 7-Dec. 29, 2013, in which adults younger than 35 were asked about their current living arrangements. Fourteen percent of those between the ages of 24 and 34 report that they live at home with their parents.


Gallup classifies Americans as "thriving," "struggling," or "suffering," according to how they rate their current and future lives on a ladder scale with steps numbered from 0 to 10, based on the Cantril Self-Anchoring Striving Scale. People are considered thriving if they rate their current lives a 7 or higher and their lives in five years an 8 or higher.


... even after accounting for marital status, employment, education, and a number of other demographic variables, those living at home between the ages of 24 and 34 still are less likely to be thriving. This suggests that while living with one's parents may have some benefits for young people who have not yet found their full footing in society, the net effect of living at home lowers young adults' perceptions of where they stand in life. In other words, even among young adults who have equal status in terms of being single, not being employed full time, and not having a college education, those who do not live at home are more likely to be thriving than those living at home. Something about living at home appears to drive down young adults' overall life evaluations.


Bottom Line


This research on the well-being of young adults living at home with their parents is the first of its kind at Gallup, although research conducted at Ohio State and elsewhere suggests that living at home is increasingly common among those younger than 35 today.


The data show that those between the ages of 24 and 34 who live at home tend to be unattached -- in the sense that they are not married and less likely to have a full-time job -- and also to be less well-educated. The research reviewed in this report underscores the idea that living at home may have some emotional costs for young adults -- particularly in terms of their perceptions that they are not enjoying the best possible life, beyond those associated with being unemployed or unmarried.


Times may change. If marriage rates rebound, if the job market for young adults improves, and if more young Americans go to college, then living at home may be less common in the years ahead, and if that happens, the overall well-being of young Americans may improve.

Yes indeed: times may change if... Then again, when times change they may get far, far worse.

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Troll Magnet's picture

I hope they're buying Obamacare!

Supernova Born's picture

Would a Cheeto eaten at a lesser depth taste less sweet?

Almost Solvent's picture

He's not even wearing a belt.


Or the belt is the same color as the pants.


I can't tell, but that looks like an apple in his pocket, or he's just glad to see me :)

Divided States of America's picture

At least these basement dwellers realize that they CANNOT AFFORD to move out and that they need to SAVE more money first IF they actually FIND a JOB first. The ones that still move out even when they cannot afford it are the over entitled ones.

wee-weed up's picture

O-ba-ma! O-ba-ma! O-ba-ma! O-ba-ma! O-ba-ma!

Dumb shits!

Gankfest's picture

I like how most jobs go to the dumbest people applying for them...

0b1knob's picture

< 100% = percentage of college graduates who voted to re elect Choomboy

< 100% = percentage of college graduates who will never pay off their student loans

wee-weed up's picture

Oh, he'll forgive all student loans before leaving office...

And make us taxpayers pay for them!

FEDbuster's picture

"Ma where's the meatloaf!?!"

The "Step Brothers Generation" ....

TeamDepends's picture

Joining the Future Captains Of Industry Club did not produce the results he had hoped it would.

Skateboarder's picture

The image on his screen has been photoshopped. Can't quite tell what it's supposed to be.

zuuma's picture

looks like a young Steve Dahl - chicago shock jock of the 70s & 80s

Richard Chesler's picture

You mean Stephanie Dahl?


TruthInSunshine's picture

"Times may change. If marriage rates rebound, if the job market for young adults improves, and if more young Americans go to college, then living at home may be less common in the years ahead, and if that happens, the overall well-being of young Americans may improve."





GetZeeGold's picture






Hey mom......throw a bag of Cheetos down here.

Element's picture

Mish ... i8086 ... DOS 1.0 ... Marlboro Country.


He does it for the bitchez.

fonestar's picture

There's 41,167,079,850 troy ounces of silver on Earth.  There will only be 21,000,000 Bitcoins ever mined.  Obviously, Bitcoin is much more scarce and represents much better value.

Let fonestar know if you need a hand getting your Bitcoins today!

akak's picture

Yes, and there will never be more than around 30,000 unique akak turds, which by your 'logic' are therefore even more rare than bitcoins and hence even more valuable.

Get your akak turds now!  Supply is limited!

fonestar's picture

Are your turds capable of being transfered around the globe in minutes with no regulation?  Does anyone recognize what an akak turd is?

If you're not here to buy Bitcoin off fonestar why are you commenting?

akak's picture


Are your turds capable of being transfered around the globe in minutes

I would bet that you'd be surprised at how fast people would be willing to pass them to others.

Plus, they're portable, divisible, and easily recognizable (at least after I've been eating my usual morning poppy seed muffin).

Ness.'s picture

At least I can put one of akak's turds in my hand.

nmewn's picture

I need that picture (up top) autographed by fonestar ;-)

GetZeeGold's picture




A limited edition to be sure.

derek_vineyard's picture

how many beenie babies were made?  22 million? 

Element's picture

Some aussies will get this, it's Carlo Kopp, in his wonder years:

And no Skateboarder, he's not been photo-shopped, that's pure-breed Carlo.


This is his new gaming rig:

Ass. Manager's picture

Wedding Crashers, not Stepbrothers.

FEDbuster's picture

I know, but both are still classics delivered by Will Ferrell.  The Wedding Crashers living in Mom's basement and the Step Brothers living with Mom and Dad as long as possible seem to work well together.

TruthInSunshine's picture

It's also:

Chaz: "Mom, can we get some MEATLOAF!?"

-and then, 3 1/2 minutes later-


Just sayin'

Sloppy Joe's picture

True state of the economy? How about the true state of "American" education?

Headbanger's picture

But wwhat happens when they live in fucking Florida and there are no basements!!??

Oh fuck!


oh wait..  And enjy your slavery!

RaceToTheBottom's picture

Have you ever tried to get in a swimming class in college?  In my years (back before electricity), the class that was hardest to get scheduled in was a scuba class.  Everyone took it their senior year where they had some scheduling priority.


I also think it is responsible of them to live in their parent basement (while swimming underwater).  They will save money and fight the debt scum

Headbanger's picture

Why yes I've had numerous scuba classes back in the day.  Along with learning how to evacuate a ditched aircraft under water.

But what's this "electricity" thing you mentioned????

General Decline's picture

HUET training. I had to do that in Louisiana prior to flying out to an oil rig a few years ago. It was actually kind of fun.

Rafferty's picture

I say great.  Hastens the end of the Cultural Marxist university programming as students see the worthless nature of their Gender Studies and Reparations Studies 'qualifications'.

pods's picture

Of course that assumes said aircraft doesn't hit the water at a 75 degree angle at ~400 knots.


Paveway IV's picture

In that case, Bell will not be liable for any resulting damage or bodily harm - that's well outside the recommended operations envelope for their aircraft. Pilots are urged to avoid this particular maneuver without proper authorization and training. Violations may result in an administrative hold on flight priviledges for up to 24 hours per incident. 

Jumbotron's picture

"But what happens when they live in fucking Florida and there are no basements!????"

They do what mine do.  Live in an outdoor shed.  And there is always the loft in the barn.  Hay is quite toasty on a cold Florida night.  Not to mention the body warmth of the critters.

ThroxxOfVron's picture

"Live in an outdoor shed."

I lived in the panhandle of Florida in the early '80's and whole families lived in sheds with corrigated aluminum siding roofs.  Parents bought flip-flops for their daughters to meet the shoe requirement for public school attendance.

Back then, and I doubt much has really changed; they sold those girls cheap by the evening and even cheaper by the hour.  Fucking sad.  

The Youth should slaughter these damend corrupt politicians and bureaucrats and financial leeches, etc.; but, they are fucking brainwashed from diaperdom through college to suck it up by their parents, teachers, the media, the churches...

Fucking sad...

TruthInSunshine's picture

The The

The Beaten Generation

When you cast your eyes upon the skylines
Of this once proud nation
Can you sense the fear and the hatred
Growing in the hearts of its population

And our youth, oh youth, are being seduced
by the greedy hands of politics and half truths

The beaten generation, the beaten generation
Reared on a diet of prejudice and mis-information
The beaten generation, the beaten generation
Open your eyes, open your imagination

We're being sedated by the gasoline fumes
and hypnotised by the satellites
Into believing what is good and what is right

You may be worshipping the temples of mammon
Or lost in the prisons of religion
But can you still walk back to happiness
When you've nowhere left to run?

And if they send in the special police
To deliver us from liberty and keep us from peace

Then won't the words sit ill upon their tongues
when they tell us justice is being done
and that freedom lives in the barrels of a warm gun

The 22nd Prime's picture

Excellent. I haven't heard that in ages. For the non The The generation.


Ness.'s picture

Yes!!  The The fans.  Here's one I'm sure you'll appreciate.


Armageddon Days Are Here (Again)


If the real Jesus Christ were to stand up today
He'd be gunned down cold by the C.I.A.
Oh, the lights that now burn brightest behind stained glass
Will cast the darkest shadows upon the human heart
But God didn't build himself that throne
God doesn't live in Israel or Rome
God doesn’t belong to the yankee dollar
God doesn't plant the bombs for Hezbollah
God doesn't even go to church
And God won't send us down to Allah to burn
No, God will remind us what we already know
That the human race is about to reap what it's sown

Dewey Cheatum Howe's picture

Education is equally proportional to lack of intelligence with people these days. The more educated the more intellectually disabled one is these days. Not everyone but it only seems that way.

Businesses need to stop looking strictly at education and use different metrics like IQ tests and not overall IQ by itself but the breakdown of things like fluid intelligence, quantative reasoning, crystallized intelligence, read and writing ability, etc that are part of the test to weed out overly re-educated intellectually disabled morons  and find the individuals who by the intelligence measurements fit best based on the task(s) required for a job when they don't have experience or when there is a load that do have experience. It needs to be a blend of both to better find qualified or entry level worth the time to train candidates for jobs.

If you don't think the public re-education system and re-education propaganda outlets like TV are creating intellectually disabled individuals consider this. Besides the IQ measurement this consists of the following to be considered intellectually disabled.


According to the fourth edition of the Diagnostic and Statistical Manual of Mental Disorders (DSM-IV),[14] three criteria must be met for a diagnosis of intellectual disability: an IQ below 70, significant limitations in two or more areas of adaptive behavior (as measured by an adaptive behavior rating scale, i.e. communication, self-help skills, interpersonal skills, and more), and evidence that the limitations became apparent before the age of 18.


They tend be good at hiding the IQ test part if you use older tests but consider the symptoms

Signs and symptoms


Social skills lacking, check

problem solving skills lacking, check

self help skills lacking, check (you can blame the government on this one big time)


You see these 3 with educated people all the time these days


They used to called these people mental retards or mental morons before the language change.


Dewey Cheatum Howe's picture

Having an automated keyword filter then some H.R. cunt (who also happens to be intellectually disabled in many cases) doing a quick screening to verify information a task that can be taught to 2 year old is not the best way to find candidates for jobs. Especially in a crowded field.

You hire stupidly you get stupid and stupid begets more stupid.

ThroxxOfVron's picture

IF You aren't some kind of favored 'minority' that meets a fucking 'diversity' initiative or garners a tax rebate for hiring -or aren't the progeny of oligarchs/mobsters; -Your resume gets deleted/trashed.

God help You if You are hard working white and without a favored degree...

TuPhat's picture

My son went through that.  He had a good degree in engineering and there was some demand but all the racial minorities got hired first.  Then the women got hired.  He was worried but he did get a job.  He had excellent grades or he wouldn't have been hired.  This was last spring but I'm sure it isn't any better now.  The govt. controls hiring.  It has nothing to do with ability. 

cynicalskeptic's picture

'Diversity' in engineering used to be - and probably still is - hard to come by.  Not a lot of minorities unless you're counting South Asian (Indian and Pakistani) and Chinese although female numbers are rising.  Depending on the specific field there are usually enough jobs for those with decent grades - but higher salaries go to minorities to meet the diversity quotients.    If you're a female black engineer you won't have any problem finding a job.

The one real problem - mainly in DP and Comp Sci - is the use of H1B visas to bring in cheap help.  A real scam as companies are supposed to prove ther aren't 'qualified' US candidates before being allowed to sponsor an H1B.

tyrone's picture

Employers want.. yes, they WANT... to hire all those H1Bs.   Indians, Pakistanis, Taiwanese, Koreans, French, German, etc., who have technical degrees.  Why?  Because, they have an EDUCATION.  They know something useful.  They can solve problems.  If they did their college prepatory education in their home country, they are so far ahead of most American born and educated students.  I am referring to a persons grade school and high school education specifically.  Besides, when they start working, they don't bring a whole lot of baggage along either.  They were taught from childhood, the value of an education.  It is a privilege, not a right, in their country.  Contrary to most American born graduates.