This Many 20-Somethings Still Get Help From Their Parents To Pay Rent

Photographed by Erin Yamagata.
When I was an undergrad, I was one of the lucky kids who got to live at home and save money because my school was only half-an-hour away from my folks' house. So you can imagine my horror the first time I had to be an "adult" and pay rent in New York City. To make matters worse, I was starting grad school and would be making exactly $0.

I'm grateful my parents wanted to help me out when my multiple streams of financial aid didn't cut it. (And I'm also aware of what an incredible privilege that was.) When I look back at that period, I know that what seemed okay to me could also be a source of stress and even shame for many other 20-somethings. I mean, who wants to disclose that their parents are chipping in to help pay the rent?

The thing is, it's a lot more common than you might think.

The New York Times
reports
that about 40% of people between the ages of 22 and 24 receive some financial help from their parents to cover living expenses.

There are many reasons why people in their early twenties may need financial help from their parents in a way previous generations didn't. For starters, college is way more expensive and people are taking longer to finish school, which may lead them to end up with more student debt. Another factor is that entry-level jobs in certain fields are harder to break into, or they offer meager starting salaries. Wages in general are stagnant, not to mention that the cost of living in certain cities is pretty astronomical.

In other words, it's only natural that many people need a little parental boost every now and then. And while some people may say that millennials are entitled or lazy, the reality is that an array of circumstances have forced them to be more financial dependent than other generations.

According to the Times, those who get help from their parents receive an average amount of about $250 a month. And this just covers around 29% of median monthly housing costs in metro areas throughout the country. Translation: The parents' assistance helps, but in the grand scheme of things, it's probably not enough to alleviate most people's money woes.

The Times also found that 20-somethings living in metropolitan areas with over a million people are 30% more likely to get help for their rent payments than people in smaller places.
Patrick Wightman, an assistant professor at the University of Arizona who helped the Times analyze their data, found that in the 1980s, fewer than half of the people between the ages 22 to 24 got any kind of financial support from their parents. That figure skyrocketed over the next few decades: By 2010, almost 70% of the people in this age group remained dependent on their parents.

Still, the Times points out that living expenses constitute only 20% of the help 20-somethings get from their parents. The bulk of their financial support comes in the form of longer-period investments, such as a down payment on a house or capital to launch a business.

So the next time your parents send you a bank transfer during a particularly rough month, know that there's a good chance your roommate's parents are doing the exact same thing. Shitty, I know. But at least this should make us work hard to change policy surrounding issues like student debt and wages. We owe it ourselves — and to future generations.
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