InflationReal EstateInvestingCompensationCareersStudent Loans and Debt

The majority of pandemic boomerang kids still live with mom and dad. Here’s why they won’t move out anytime soon

September 6, 2022, 7:23 PM UTC
Son sitting on couch, talking to his father
Many of the young adults who moved back home during the pandemic have yet to leave the nest.
Getty Images

Many of the millennials and Gen Zers who moved back in with their parents when the pandemic hit aren’t quite ready to leave the nest.

Two-thirds of the 32% of young adults who returned home during the pandemic are still living there, according to LendingTree’s survey of more than 1,300 American parents and young adults. More than half (51%) of those young adults who live at home say it’s out of necessity, while 49% said it was to save money.

In September 2020, the majority of young adults in America were living with their parents for the first time since the Great Depression. While pandemic restrictions have since eased, braving it alone is harder than it used to be as a twentysomething. Without having a head start to save up, millennials and Gen Z are often hit harder by inflation, from the housing and rental market to college tuition to everyday goods.

“With inflation as high as it is and with rates rising, it can be difficult for anyone to make ends meet in today’s economy,” LendingTree senior economist Jacob Channel says in the report, adding that entry-level workers may not have high enough salaries yet to afford the climbing prices. 

Many of those who moved back home used it as an opportunity to save for the future; 39% of this cohort reported that they could focus on paying down debt, 31% saved more for a down payment on a house, and 23% were able to invest more for retirement. Younger age groups in the LendingTree survey were more likely to already have moved back out.

As younger generations deal with higher tuition (and subsequently more debt), the postgrad experience becomes more about saving up and living with mom and dad. A recent working paper from the National Bureau of Economic Research found that more millennials of the college class of 2013 were living with their parents (31%), compared to the Gen X class of 1996 when they were the same age (25%). They shouldered higher amounts of student debt and were more likely to be unemployed, or working jobs that didn’t require a college degree.

The pandemic was just another economic challenge to send young adults back home. Even of those who left the nest, 70% said in the LendingTree survey they would boomerang back home again if they had no other option, showing just how expensive the cost of living has gotten.

Sign up for the Fortune Features email list so you don’t miss our biggest features, exclusive interviews, and investigations.