The New Youth Normal - Your Parents' Basement

Tyler Durden's picture

Recent times have been particularly hard on young adults. As we look around the world at Europe and the Middle-East, it is all too often the youth that are leading the social unrest as they again and again are the hardest hit by the global deleveraging (and admittedly most socially connected). The US is not insulated from this (though perhaps more Xanax-subdued) as youth unemployment is around 20% (with 16-19 year-olds around 25%). As Pew Research Center notes though, that fully 55% of those aged 18-24 (and 4% of 25-34 year olds) say young adults are having the toughest time in today's economy. The day-to-day realities of economic hard times are somewhat shocking for a country supposedly so far up the developed spectrum as roughly a quarter of adults aged 18 to 34 (24%) say that, due to economic conditions, they have moved back in with their parents in recent years after living on their own. In the 25 to 29 age range a shocking 34% have moved back home with mom and pop (hardly likely to help with the huge shadow housing inventory overhang we discussed yesterday) Finding a job, saving for the future, paying for college, and buying a home are seen as dramatically harder for today's young adults compared to their parent's generation while Facebook saves the day as staying in touch with friends/family is the only stand out aspect of life that is 'easier' for today's youth. As these increasingly disenfranchised young adults make some of life's biggest transitions (or not as the case seems to be), we wonder just how long it will be before Al-Jazeera is reporting on the Yankee-Spring and showing video of young hoody-wearing Americans throwing their 'Vans' at 80 inch plasma TVs; or maybe the BLS will decide to redefine basement-dwelling (or rioting) as a full-time job.


24% of 18-34 year-olds have moved back in with their parents. Somewhat notably, doesn't everyone get a job to 'pay the bills'? Also notable is the 22% who have delayed procreation - that's hardly going to help as Boomers 'drop off' leaving lower demographics behind...


BLS-provided (propagandized) Youth Unemployment Rates (Seasonally Adjusted).


Thank goodness we have Facebook or there would be nothing better than our parent's generation

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Squishi's picture

I am typing this from my dog's house 

francis_sawyer's picture

Better hope he paid the electric bill...

Squishi's picture

he ate it along with my tax bill, University degree and my bernanke poster.

francis_sawyer's picture

I hope he at least left you with your Farrah poster...

TruthInSunshine's picture

Parents' basements, with 5 friends in a shoebox apartment, on the streets and in tents in the woods, or:

Livin' In A Van Down By The River


What used to be comedy for entertainment is now increasingly reality for a huge subset of people who have skills and would work productive jobs if they could find one.

And that's not funny at all. It's tragic.

The Money Masters  have the pagan gods of money and power that they worship. In their means they deploy to obtain more money and power, they consider such things as necessary for the process.
smithcreek's picture

The economy back in the late 80's was not great, at all.  But I had a $7/hour job, lived with two friends and had no problem with bills.  My only bills were 1/3 of $350/month rent, 1/3 of the phone line, 1/3 of the electric, catastrophic health insurance and insurance for my POS car.  No cell phone, no internet, no netfilx account, no iphone, no computer, no other money gobbling monthly services.  I don't doubt things are different, but I'd like to know what has changed since then.  How much would it cost to live the same lifestyle I did 25 years ago?

Thomas's picture

BTW-What's with that "taken a job just to pay the bills" category? Isn't that the idea?

TruthInSunshine's picture

I think it's more like when college grads, some with masters in actually useful areas, take waitressing jobs so that they can live a subsistence lifestyle, which also means that the longer this goes on, the less useful their degree becomes to what could have been a potential employer requiring such a degree.

trav7777's picture

my kids can move back in as long as they bring girls home for dad...tho, 29 is a bit old

RichardENixon's picture

I'm sure that post got you on some kind of list.

trav7777's picture

i think 18 is legal in every US state

francis_sawyer's picture

"Guess Who's Coming to Dinner?"

smiler03's picture

@ TruthInSunshie...


Living in a shoebox? You were lucky! Original Four Yorkshire Men Sketch...

AldousHuxley's picture

living with your parents IS NORMAL for rest of the world....and they don't even have homes but small apartments with public transit.


You do it because housing is expensive.

You do it because childcare is expensive and your grandparents can take of kids for free at home

You do it because dining out is expensive and grandma is an excellent cook.

You do it because nursing homes are expensive and your stay at home wife can take care of your parents/in laws.


Dumbass Americans are going to get what they deserve....lower standard of living. Thanks for selling out the middle class.


MachoMan's picture

So you think our lifestyle was some permanent fixture?  That we could just walk the economic tightrope in perpetuity and ignore basic resource constraints?  I'll posit that regardless of how diligent we should have been, our fate was the same... 

Bicycle Repairman's picture

In my day our parents didn't even have a basement.  In my day we'd live in a lean-to out in back of the garage, AND WE LIKED IT!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

smiler03's picture

In my day our parents didn't even have a lean-to. We had to live in a large flowerpot and we were delirious.

mjk0259's picture

Job now pays $8/hour. Rent for a run down 2 bedroom apt is $1400/mo where I live. The health insurance probably costs 5 times more. Gas costs 3 times more. Food costs 2 times more. If you're trying to go to college, that's 5 times more.

soccerballtux's picture

that's pretty expensive for rent but rent is definitely not $350/month total now that house prices are about 3x what they were back then.
I'm a fan of all the parents that kick their kids off into college and expect them to make it through with a part time job because back when they were young, they did it, so you should too. Forgetting the part that a year of school was $500 and now it's  $40,000 from a legitimate institution that can guarantee a job in this climate.

TruthInSunshine's picture

No degree from any institution can "guarantee" a job in his climate.

Yes, a molecular biology Ph.D. getting a degree from MIT with decent grades is going to probably land a job quite easily, but there are A LOT of newly minted Harvard MBAs and Yale JD's who are actually having trouble finding employment.

Many large New York and Chicago law firms basically put a hiring freeze on for new associates, and aren't even doing campus interviews now.

I have a client with a son who graduated last year with a law degree from the University of Virginia, which isn't Yale Law, but it's in the top 10, and he has only been able to find internship work so far, and he had fairly good grades.

Rottenclam's picture

Great question(s).  I agree with your approach.  If you cut out all the extra stuff that you're *expected* to have, life does get a bit cheaper.  Kids returning home from college *should* be able to cut:

  • Cable
  • Cell Phone
  • Netflix / Sirius / etc

Still, the point of the article is well taken.  It is a true that in some cultures (Italy, for example) it is very common for men to live at home into their 30s (60 Minutes ran a story on that about 10 years ago), but in American culture, we're expected to be out on our own (and working) by at least our early 20s.

The problem nowadays is that even if you get out of college, and you're in your early 20s, you basically have to go work at the local mall's T-Mobile kiosk .  Which is fine...if you dont have your monthly bills + $60k-$80k in student debt that you also need to pay off.

Andy_Jackson_Jihad's picture

Yes.  Along with granite counter tops  and a pool table paid for by a 2006 HELOC loan.  Who cares if Rover had no income, thats his god given right as an American to have those things.

AldousHuxley's picture

come to California and you will see illegal aliens driving Caddillac SUVs living rent free in a home where they put in a brand new LUXURY swimming pool because their ghetto $150k home was valued at $400,000.


thank government and bankers for allowing stupids to prosper.

The Big Ching-aso's picture



Economy in basement, people in basements, dollar debased, so now everything in deebasement.

MillionDollarBonus_'s picture

This would in part explain the rise of libertarian populism among naive spotty youths. Socially inadept, zit-faced and unemployed youths are spending an increasing amount of time surfing the internet from their parents’ houses. This tragically and inevitably introduces impressionable youths to libertarian conspiracy sites, right-wing extremist blogs and other fringe material, which naturally appeals to their sense of dissociation with civilized society. We need to reach out to these disengaged youths and encourage them to integrate into society like respectable adults, or else they will continue to rot away on these hateful blogs.

WonderDawg's picture

That's some good shit there, bro. A little over the top, even for you, but I laughed.

JPM Hater001's picture

Yeah, it took me a long time to get him but you know what...his shit keeps getting better and better.  I actually cried a little...

RichardENixon's picture

It's a little disheartening that he gets so many thumbs down on here, people don't seem to get him. He's pretty funny.

JPM Hater001's picture

It comes from a society that doesnt want to question.  It always ruins the fun.
And most prefer not to re-listen to these things for then they will know the gig is up.

_ConanTheLibertarian_'s picture

My first response was to vote him down but I changed it to up (yes you can do that! Amazing!) because I get it now that he's in default /sarc mode.

Sabibaby's picture


Yeah and they have dormitories to stay in and nets around the buildings in case the kids accidentally fall out the window. (thats why mom and dads basement is safe)


YC2's picture


AldousHuxley's picture

you can thank Steve Jobs and all the apple fanboys for FoxConn


btw, they actually do have jobs in Silicon Valley...

Dr. Engali's picture

Damn stright! We need these young kids to goose step with the rest of society. We must crush all creativity and free thought. They must be assimilated into the collective. Resistance is futile.

Odin's picture

stop wasting away on hateful blogs, but yeah in all seriousness that was a funny one, i see your still at the top of your game...

slaughterer's picture

MDB, I raise your bonus a little with each post.  

RealFinney's picture

Presumably the best way to intergrate these misfits into society would be a government job and extending them more credit cards?

carbonmutant's picture

Or bring back the draft... (cough, cough)

AldousHuxley's picture

young people would prefer the draft...


draft = free international travel and not living with your parents + free college education aftwards + veteran status for life with extra points when getting a  government job


today's draft = 5 years of corporate shit entry jobs to pay back student loans while "high" income doesn't qualify you for any government benefits + career burnout in your twenties + high taxes to pay for veterans in government jobs with generous pension


plus now educated women are getting "drafted" too.


ONO47's picture

Then they can owe the souls to the government store.

Colombian Gringo's picture

Million Dollar Bonus, gave you an up vote for funniest post on ZH so far today. Keep it up, your stuff is better than seinfeld.