A House, a Spouse and Suburban Living: Millennials Are Acting a Lot Like Their Parents

A new survey shows millennials aren’t so different from Mom and Dad, after all.
A row of suburban houses

For many of us, the idea of turning into our parents is something to be studiously avoided at all cost (no offense, Mom and Dad!). After all, who in their 20s and early 30s wants to be tethered to mortgage payments, bulk shopping trips to Costco and endless backyard barbecues when there are Instagram-worthy places to visit and pricey weekend brunches to be had? At least that’s how the clichés go. But a recent survey by Ernst & Young indicates millennials may have a lot more in common with their parents than they care to admit, despite the fact your parents may not have a taste for $19 avocado toast.

A recent survey of 1,202 millennials (aged 20 to 36) from Ernst & Young shows an interesting trend over the past two years: More millennials are tying the knot, buying homes and moving to the suburbs—just like Mom and Dad.

You can't teach an old millennial new tricks

Since 2016, homeownership among older millennials (ages 28 to 31) increased from 27% to 47%, with about four in 10 millennials now owning their homes, according to the survey. This puts millennial homeownership just 5% behind Gen Xers and Boomers when they were the same age.

Perhaps more surprising is where millennials are choosing to put down roots. Instead of staying put in overpriced metropolitan areas where they once rented apartments, the survey found that more millennials are choosing to pack their bags and move back to the suburbs.

Where do millennials live?

This is due in part to the cost of housing compared to wages. From 2007 to 2017, median rental housing costs increased by 29% in urban areas, but millennials only experienced a 17% increase in median income. The cost of rural housing, on the other hand, increased by just 16%.

And what better way to christen a new home and neighborhood than with a new relationship? According to the survey, millennials are choosing to get married earlier than they were two years ago. In 2016, just 27% of millennials were married. Today, that figure has increased to 38%, and it's not just the older millennials tying the knot. In fact, people aged 24 to 31 accounted for a majority of the increase in marriage rates.

As it turns out, millennials aren't too different from previous generations. They’re just taking a little bit longer to reach major life milestones. As millennials continue to pay down student debt and climb the economic ladder, these similarities are likely to become more defined. Mom and Dad would be proud.

Daniel Caughill

Daniel is a former Staff Writer at ValuePenguin, covering insurance, retirement and other personal finance topics. He previously wrote about compliance and best practices for K-12 school districts at Frontline Education.

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