Person Lying Under the Boxes

In August of 2019, I wrote an article about the Millennial Migration, spotlighting the top cities that millennials flock to, places where they can afford to rent their own apartments while also being able to pay off their student loans. Almost a year later, the whole world has changed and many of those millennials have lost their jobs, suffered pay cuts, or have been forced to abruptly adapt to a work from home culture.

Recently, Washington Post published an article about how millennials are the unluckiest generation in U.S. history. I don’t disagree.

Those millennials who migrated over the last few years are making the migration back in the wake of COVID-19. Instead of being confined to cramped city apartments, fearing a necessary trip to the local grocery store or dreading the rent payments they can no longer afford since so many have lost their jobs, many millennials are escaping cities and heading back to the safety of the suburbs. AKA: mom and dad’s place.

Since March of 2020, millions of young people have moved back in with their parents, my siblings and I included. Speaking from personal experience, the transition back to my parent’s house felt like I was taking a huge step back in what I was “supposed” to be doing in my late twenties. We used to spend our nights with friends and the weekends hiking and strolling through farmers market. Now, we’re woken up at seven on Saturday mornings, by my mom vacuuming outside our bedroom door. When I am not working, I am playing dominoes and backgammon.

The real-estate website Zillow analyzed new government data and indicated that about 2.9 million adults moved in with a parent or grandparent between March and May of 2020 as a result of the pandemic. While many of those adults were part of Generation Z, many were college students who came home after being told to leave campus. The data also indicated that there were still “32 million adults living with their parents or grandparents in April, the highest number on record”.

For me, living at home with my two siblings and both my parents has been both a blessing and a curse. There’s never any hot water, our food bill is outrageous, and the number of times we have to run the dishwasher a week seems impossible. But this is the first time we’ve all been under the same roof for longer than week at a time in almost ten years, and that’s something we’ll never get back.

I wish it weren’t COVID that forced us and millions of other young people back home again. But finding a silver lining in this chaos has been pretty easy for me.