Millennials Still Want Homes in 2014, but Can’t Afford Them Due to Prohibitive Student Debt Pierce Nahigyan March 1, 2014 Politics Most definitions of the American Dream ring with the golden promise of “opportunity.” It’s not about handouts; it’s about what you can earn for yourself. Just get up and go for it. Unfortunately, Millennials are the “Go-Nowhere Generation,” according to Todd and Victoria Buchholz. In The New York Times, they lament the demise of twenty-somethings’ mobility. Since the 1980s, Census Bureau data confirms that their demographic is 40 percent less likely to move out of state and 15 percent less likely to get a driver’s license. Where are these sedentary whipper-snappers living in the meantime? Mom and Pop’s. Thirty-six percent of 18 to 31-year-olds moved back home in 2012, a 4 percent increase from 2007, before the Great Recession hit. For just the 18-24 section, over half of them still live with their parents. Do Millennials enjoy the comforts of home that much? Is this “boomerang generation” really so addicted to mom’s apple pie? Millennials Want the American Dream Oh, they want it. They just can’t afford it. In 2012, the outstanding student loan debt topped $1 trillion. In 2013, the average student’s chunk of that was $35,200. Breaking that down, it means today’s student, at a 6 percent interest rate, will pay $390 per month for the next ten years before he or she is free to save that money. And where they get that money in the first place is anyone’s guess. In January 2013, the unemployment rate for men and women aged 20-24 was 14.3 percent. It never sank lower than 12 percent until November, though that’s not saying much. As of January 2014, it hangs at an almost defiant 11.9. Compare this to unemployment statistics for Americans aged 25 and up: 6.5 percent in January last year, 5.4 percent in this one. As demographer Cheryl Russell writes for MSN, “Debt, coupled with double-digit unemployment, has hobbled millions of young adults who would have bought homes, married, had children and feathered their nests with all the middle-class goodies that keep our economy humming.” In other words, this generation’s on the outside looking in, fogging up the windows of the American Dream. According to MSN, only 9 percent of people aged 29-34 purchased mortgages between 2009 and 2011. This has shrunk from 17 percent ten years before. And this isn’t by choice. New Geography reports that 70 percent of Millennials would love a home in the suburbs. But it’s not financially possible. For a generation commonly labeled as “entitled,” a Better Homes and Gardens survey revealed just what Millennials will do to achieve a home of their own. Forty percent are willing to work a second job and 23 percent are willing to move back in with their parents. Moreover, 75 percent of the 18-35-year-olds surveyed said they considered a nice home the “fundamental indicator of success” in America. It’s a slippery slope to homeownership these days. Average incomes for Millenials who can find work have fallen 8 percent since 2007. Meanwhile, federal student aid has actually driven up the price of a college education, forming a cycle of higher subsidies, higher debt, less disposable income, fewer homeowners and a more sluggish economy. So all you go-nowhere kids out there can just keep dreaming.