Living with Your Parents: The New Normal
Go to school. Graduate. Get a job. Move out. Build your life. This straightforward trajectory feels increasingly like the life path of yesteryear. More and more young people are remaining in the nest and living with their parents despite having graduated. On one hand, a weaker economy and bleaker career prospects have played a part. However, there are other factors to consider when looking at this phenomenon.
In 2011, approximately four out of every ten Canadian in their twenties lived with their parents. This is a noticeable increase from 27 percent thirty years prior. Employment and incomes have been definite factors in this change. These two influences peaked around the 1960s and 1970s and have been in downward trajectories since then. The labour market has provided much greater success for women since the 1960s, and their growing prominence in the workforce has also had an impact.
Economics are not the only facet of this situation. Major cultural shifts include people choosing to marry at a later age. Most young adults lived with a romantic partner from the late nineteenth century onwards. This has slowly changed throughout the last several decades. Marriage allows for a multi-income household, and without that support it is no surprise that more and more young adults choose to live at home with their family instead. Metropolitan areas have become increasingly populated as the preferred living location. The choice to remain in these cities has the repercussion of dealing with a higher cost of living. 42 percent of twenty-somethings lived at home in 2011, whereas that number for Torontonians was 57 percent.
Multigenerational living arrangements are becoming more prevalent across Canada. Young adults belonging to a visible minority group or whose parents migrated to Canada were more likely to live at home in 2011. Certain cultures have different viewpoints on when children are expected to leave home. For many, it is common for parents and their offspring to cohabitate. As Canada’s multiculturalism continues to grow and flourish, it is not surprising that this practice is carried out here. Young adults can reap the financial advantages of this, while also gaining emotional support by not having to live alone. The older generation also does not have to live alone and have the practical support of their children to help them with household matters. As the population in general continues to age, it is not uncommon for younger people to support their older parents as much as they possibly can.
The stigma of living with one’s parents is slowly but surely changing. As rent and housing prices continue to skyrocket, it is practical to withhold from plunging into those expenses. The transition from finishing school to securing independence is being seen as a more fluid journey, as opposed to the simpler steps that it once entailed decades ago. Young adults may not have the immediate job opportunities or easy entry into the housing market that their parents had. However, they do have the support of those parents and greater freedom in exploring different career paths and entrepreneurial endeavours.
Go to school. Graduate. Go back to school. Work. Move out. Quit. Move back home. Start your own company. The steps to adulthood are a blurrier and more winding than they were before. While there are tougher circumstances in regards to employment and the economy, there are also life choices, cultural shifts, and a changing world to consider. Independence and adulthood are less straightforward than they once were, but young adults also have opportunities unlike ever before.
Fry, Richard. “For First Time in Modern Era, Living With Parents Edges Out Other Living Arrangements for 18- to 34-Year-Olds.” PewResearch Center. http://www.pewsocialtrends.org/2016/05/24/for-first-time-in-modern-era-living-with-parents-edges-out-other-living-arrangements-for-18-to-34-year-olds/
Milan, Anne. “Diversity of young adults living with their parents.” Statistics Canada. http://www.statcan.gc.ca/pub/75-006-x/2016001/article/14639-eng.htm
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