Monday, April 22, 2024





        All those Millennials and adult Gen Z’ers who have moved back home to live with parents after going off to college or to work in other places turn out to be doing a big favor for other Californians.


        Their willingness to return to their old bedrooms, perhaps with changed posters on the walls and better quality beds, is one big reason homelessness has not climbed above the current 181,000-odd persons who are unhoused here every night.


        It’s also been a large factor in holding down the so-called “California exodus” of the last few years, which saw about 750,000 Californians leave the state in 2021 and 2022, for a net population loss of about 300,000.


        Many, too, also are helping their parents hang onto homes they’ve lived in for a generation or more by contributing part of their pay toward mortgage payments and other household expenses.


        At the same time, by declining to find multiple roommates and not moving into new apartments erected in the current building boomlet, they are keeping vacancy rates high in all but the most affordable buildings, something that might eventually drive market prices down and possibly then lower vacancy rates.


        There has rarely been a larger or more dramatic housing migration than the return-to-the-womb movement, according to statistics compiled by the RentCafe website, which finds huge percentages of Millenials, and especially adult Gen Z’ers staying with family late into adulthood.


        First, some definitions. The usual birth years for those considered Millenials are 1980 through 1996. This means most are aged 28-44. Gen Z is composed of folks born between 1997 and 2012, its adult component now aged 21-27. There is some variance in these definitions.


        But there’s little doubt at least one-fourth of all Millenials in California now live with parents or other family, or that the Los Angeles metro area has the largest move-home contingent, at 35 percent of all Millenials in the region. The Riverside area has the same percentage of move-backs, while Millenials living at home in the San Francisco and San Jose areas are somewhat less prevalent, at 23 and 24 percent. The trend holds in the Central Valley, too, with 35 percent of Sacramento Millenials living with close relatives and 30 percent in Stockton.


        Among Gen Z’ers, moves home are far more pronounced. Many are recent college graduates starting out in various professions, but paid enough to live on their own in apartments that often rent for $3,000 per month and up. Fully 80 percent of those in the Los Angeles region are with parents or parent-like figures; 89 percent in Oxnard live similarly.


        The Gen Z figures are only slightly lower in San Francisco (72 percent), Stockton (77 percent), San Diego (70 percent) and San Jose (74 percent).


        This is really all about affordability for young adults who current earn salaries that would be adequate to provide them comfortable housing in most other states – but not in much of California.


        Actual numbers are almost as staggering as the percentages. Metropolitan Los Angeles is home to about 3 million Millenials, with some 1.3 million in childhood nests. San Diego is about the only area bucking this trend, with only about 18 percent of Millenials living in childhood homes.


        One big question is how long this can last. Will many Millenials eventually marry and move to states with far cheaper housing, like Texas, Idaho and Florida? Or will more of them find roommates and begin to share new housing now going up under California’s recent pro-density, pro-development laws?


        No one can reliably predict how this will play out over the next 10 years. But in multi-child families, there may be a limit on how many return-home children a childhood home and the parents who live there are willing and able to accommodate.


        This implies there may be coming trends toward younger marriage ages, and the concomitant problem of more divorces, as marital splits are most common among those who marry youngest.


        The bottom line: No one knows exactly where this trend will lead, but adult children living with parents has never been a formula for long-term stability.         





    Email Thomas Elias at His book, "The Burzynski Breakthrough, The Most Promising Cancer Treatment and the Government’s Campaign to Squelch It," is now available in a soft cover fourth edition. For more Elias columns, visit

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