Has the Great Recession changed the way we live? Given the severity of the economic downturn and the slow recovery, it’s a good question to ask. The experience has certainly given pause to those previously expected to be purchasing homes. Home values remain depressed in many markets as supply continues to outstrip demand, which has been dampened by declining incomes and scarce job opportunities. All of which has contributed to a noticeable “return to the nest” phenomenon, where grown children are moving back in with their parents in increasing numbers. If the housing market and economy don’t improve, they may stay there for a while.
The Census Bureau reports that since the Great Recession began, 7 million more American are living in doubled up arrangements. The trend for young adults was particularly dramatic. For persons ages 25 and 34, their rate of living doubled up has increased over 25%. Not surprisingly, this group has fared poorly in the current economy. In 2010, their incomes declined over 9%, the worst performance of any demographic group. When they live in households with other working adults, most are not counted as poor, but if their own income status were considered, over 45% would have incomes below the poverty threshold. On top of that, it’s likely that many are saddled with debt, including rising levels of student loan that they can’t repay until they start work and begin to generate earnings. It’s been pretty tough out there for recent college grads.