The XX Factor

Are Millennials a Generation of Layabouts?

Finally, more people are coming around to a nuanced narrative about Generation Y’s failure to launch: There’s a new study from Oregon State University that shows that more young people are living at home, not just because they’re lazy and entitled, but also because there just aren’t that many jobs available that pay even enough to live frugally on one’s own. As I pointed out in a post from earlier this year, the trend of twenty- and thirtysomethings living with their parents has been going on since the early aughts . The OSU study notes, “[D]ownward trends in wages and economic opportunities can be directly linked to young people staying at home longer, returning home later, and postponing or even forgoing marriage and children.”

So basically, this is about the disappearing middle class , rather than a generation of layabouts. Certainly there will always be young people who sponge off their parents-the OSU study points out that many of the twentysomethings who live with their parents who contribute to the household finances. But rather than shame people for living in a multigenerational home (as many commenters of this New York Times blog post take joy in doing), why not accept that the financial situation of this country no longer supports people living independently in their early adulthood?