Los Angeles rents are some of the worst in the nation, and don't even think about buying a home here. Resourceful millennials have found one solution, though: living at home with mom and dad.
A new analysis of U.S. Census Bureau data for America's largest cities found that 41.5 percent of Greater Los Angeles millennials either still live at home or have moved back in. In the Inland Empire, that figure was 44.5 percent, according to the "Not-So-Empty Nests" report by apartment listing site Abodo.
"I would caution against concluding this is a product of lack of a aspiration," says Tom Allison, deputy director of policy and research at millennial advocacy group Young Invincibles. "Young people are hardworking and dedicated."
Greater L.A., including Orange County, ranked fourth for U.S. metro areas with the largest percentage of people born between 1982 and 2003 who live at home, according to the analysis. L.A. was topped only by Miami (first), the Inland Empire (second) and New York (third). "A large issue leading to millennials living at home in Los Angeles is rent price and monthly income," Abodo communications manager Sam Radbil said via email.
In fact, the price of going it alone is so high in the market that millennials would have to spend about 97 percent of their median monthly income ($1,975) just to get into a median-priced, one-bedroom unit in L.A., the site found. Only Washington, D.C., had a higher demand on millennial income (110 percent) for one-bedroom renters, according to the report.
"Many millennials are not only earning less than their parents did as younger adults, but the majority of millennials who pursue college degrees are eventually saddled with an average student loan debt hovering around $30,000," Radbil said.
Allison of Young Invincibles says millennials also live at home to care for ill or elderly family members. "Young adults are actually taking care of their parents or grandparents at higher rates than we've ever seen before," he says. "There are a lot of young people living at home because the health care system has failed so many people."
Millennials in Greater Los Angeles also have the burden of a relatively high 8.7 percent unemployment rate, compared to 4.8 percent for the general population locally. Living with the parents, then, is a reasonable fix. But it's not the only one.
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A recent report from real estate site Trulia found that sharing a three-bedroom unit with roommates in Greater L.A. can save renters $683 per month versus going it alone with a median one-bedroom unit. "Adding roommates is a definite, quick and easy solution," Radbil said. "It's been proven that three-bedroom rent prices are usually the best value for young renters who are often very open to the idea of living with friends."
But will those friends put a smiley face–adorned note in your lunch bag?