Millennial lifestyle: Not home alone
Kayla Joyner moved out on her own at age 19. At 27, she’s moved back in with her mom in Dania Beach. “Being back in somebody else’s house and under their rules takes some adjusting,” she says.
Millennials are setting a modern record for living with their parents. Some 1.4 million Millennials, 35% of the Millennials in Florida, live with their parents. One frequent explanation is that Millennials, slow to grow up, are still sponging off the folks. As Joyner’s experience shows, the narrative can be more complex.
Born and raised in south Florida, Joyner started work at 15 at a supermarket. “I didn’t have a choice,” she says. As a student, she volunteered at a hospital and at her old middle school. She also danced ballet, played flag football and was a baton twirler. Her grandmother, who has worked 27 years with the Broward Sheriff’s office, and an aunt, who has worked 10 years at the county jail, inspired her to pursue a law enforcement career in crime scene investigation.
After a false start at a private college, she had to start from scratch at Broward College on a criminal justice associate’s degree with an emphasis on crime scene. With $50,000 in student debt, she’s working two jobs, one as a hospital security guard, the second for a crime-scene cleanup company.
Four years ago, she had a son born prematurely weighing 1-pound, 10-ounces. She’s grateful her son, Kaylen, after the initial five months in the hospital, is healthy and doing well.
Her mom has a packed house. Also there are her sister, an aunt and uncle and Kayla’s fiancé, Joshua, a business major. Joyner says moving back was a necessary step to getting in financial and credit shape to buy a home some day. She graduated in December and is applying to law enforcement agencies in south Florida and up the Treasure Coast. If that doesn’t lead to something, she plans to expand her search.
“I am praying I get the opportunity to step into my career,” she says. She knows there’s lots of competition. She graduated “with a couple hundred kids who all did the same thing.” She hopes that a job in public service, after 10 years, will mean forgiveness of her student debt.
Surveying her situation, she’s happy. She did well in school and at work, though the road’s been long. “I just look at it and say, ‘it’s almost over; it’s almost over.’ I think I’m doing pretty good. I don’t have a choice. I have a kid I have to set the bar for.”
20.3% of Florida Millennials were born abroad, compared to the national average of 15.4%
Millennials tend to live at home with their parents.
The Real Story:
Millennials are in fact much more likely to live with their parents than Baby Boomers were in 1980, but two-thirds of Millennials don’t live at home. Some lower-educated Millennials appear to prefer video-gaming to low-wage jobs, but for many, the decision to live at home is part of a career strategy — or economic necessity.
Erik Hurst, a University of Chicago economist, has found a disturbing cause for higher unemployment among Millennial men.
Nationally, the rate of employment for less-educated younger men has fallen by 10 percentage points to 72% since 2000. A fifth of these lower-skilled, lower-educated men haven’t worked for 12 months, a much higher percentage than in the early 2000s. Hurst has evidence that the young men have replaced work hours on a nearly one-to-one basis with “leisure” activities, with three-fourths of leisure hours going to video-gaming. A quarter of the men play more than three hours a day; 10% play six hours. How do they make ends meet? Half of lower-educated Millennial men live with their parents or other family.
Hurst reasons that technology has affected the labor supply by making gaming more attractive than low-wage work. Happiness surveys find the men more content than those in the early 2000s. That contentment fades, however, as they move into their 30s and 40s: They may want to form families and need income but have the skills, education and work experience of a teenager.
Lifestyle and Values
Homeownership illustrates the dangers of overgeneralizing about Millennials.
Conventional wisdom has it that economic insecurity — fear of foreclosure, student debt — have combined with broader societal trends such as marrying later to lead Millennials to remain renters and delay buying a home.
Indeed, developers across Florida are pouring copious amounts of concrete to build rental apartments, often tiny, especially in downtowns, to cater to Millennials. In Miami, for example, developer Moishe Mana wants to build a 49-story apartment building with units under 500 square feet.
Demand from Millennials for rentals has continued even as apartment rents have risen beyond what a substantial monthly mortgage would cost. In Tampa Bay, a 700-sq.-ft. apartment can fetch $1,300.
Matt Allen, COO of Related Group, the Miami developer now wrapping up its condo projects in Florida in favor of apartments, says Millennials “like the ease of renting. They like to move quickly. We have some young developers in our office, and they don’t even have a car. They’re Uber-ing it. They could pack up and move to China if they wanted to. They like that flexibility. We’re seeing that in all our markets, especially Tampa.”
Without doubt, homeownership among Millennials lags. By 2013, the number of Florida homes owned by those up to 34 years old fell by more than 200,000 from 538,738 just seven years earlier. The economic rebound was weak for Millennial homeownership: As of 2015, Millennials owned 327,971 houses in Florida while renter-occupied housing in their age group numbered 834,967.
More good news for landlords: Some 1. 4 million Millennials in Florida live with their parents. The first step out for most people living with their parents will be into rental housing, says the Urban Land Institute.
But don’t write the obituary for homeownership. Fannie Mae last year reported seeing older Millennials accelerating home purchasing. And research by University of Southern California’s Dowell Myers, a Florida native and professor of policy, planning and demography, indicates that the three trends that led Millennials to concentrate in cities — the size of the generation, scarce jobs, housing tied up by older people unable to move — will run in the opposite direction by 2020. By then, job creation and less competition for jobs from the next, smaller generation will give Millennials a big economic boost.
Adding nuance to the Millennial housing picture is an Urban Land Institute 2015 study. The findings? Millennials look forward to owning their own homes. And while many live in city neighborhoods, only 13% (men more than women) live in actual downtowns — nearly the same percentage as those living with three generations of family under the same roof.
(The popular media image of urban hipster Millennials, the authors believe, is driven by Millennials in New York, San Francisco and just eight other cities.)
The ULI study also found that Millennials identified themselves in nearly identical numbers as suburbanites and city people. Four of 10 renters live in single-family homes, reflecting a post-recession marketplace in which investors bought up masses of foreclosed homes for use as rental property. (Some 39% of the nation’s rental stock now is single-family compared to the historically true one-quarter.)
Interestingly, the ULI study found that while Millennials like walkability in a community, they think that the cost of housing, safe neighborhoods, good schools and proximity to work are much more important. Millennials — said to be a socially conscious generation — ranked eco-friendly features last in a survey of top attributes in choosing a dwelling. Six of 10 renters said they wouldn’t pay more for green features and sustainability.
Mass transit didn’t score high either, a notable finding for a generation known for getting driver licenses late and viewing cars as utilitarian rather than a mode of self-expression.
Diana Galavis, a northeast Florida Realtor, says lifestyle is important to Millennials she’s dealt with, “but it doesn’t necessarily have to be an urban lifestyle.” They want to be near work, friends and entertainment, she says. They also educate themselves online about what’s available, are financially cautious and borrow less than they could. “They’re always looking at it as an investment” and anticipate renting it out when they move up, Galavis says. “The Millennials definitely are in the market,” she says.
With the Millennial housing picture more muddled than initial reports made it appear, the institute study offered an important caveat: In a generation so large, even small percentages equate to large numbers of consumers. In Florida, a 10% slice of the Millennial pie soon will be a market of 539,000.
Millennials are downtown trendsetters who want to live within walking or biking distance to work, bars and restaurants. They like bike-sharing programs, electriccar charging stations and say no to yards.
The Real Story:
Is much more complex, with Millennials appearing to move toward traditional patterns of homeownership and suburban life as they age.
In July, 29-year-old Millennial Nathan Zike bought a three-bedroom, two-bath house, his first, for $160,000. The house, with a two-car garage, is in suburban Port St. Lucie, a quintessential suburban municipality in St. Lucie County. Zike, who runs the online arm of a shoe stocking and retailing company in Stuart, sounds like generations of home buyers before him. “I was tired of just throwing my money away,” Zike says. He had been paying $1,250 a month in rent, with more money paid out for the standard last month’s rent and security deposit. Now, his monthly payment to his lender, including escrow for taxes and insurance, is $1,000. “I wanted something that was a little better investment and for my money to mean something. I wanted something I could call my own.”
Peru-born Oscar Maldonado, 25, is a New York Life agent. Much of his client base comes from his own generation and those 50 to 65. Maldonado lives with his parents in a Port St. Lucie home that they all bought together.
For Florida’s Millennials, the car is still king. Nearly nine out of 10 Millennials report driving or carpooling to work — higher than the national average.
Millennials vs. Boomers
In 1980, the youngest members of the Baby Boomer generation (those born between 1946 and 1964) were 18, and the oldest were 34.
The Millennial generation is at a similar juncture today: The youngest Millennials are 18, and the oldest are 34. A comparison of the two generations:
Both in Florida and nationally, today’s Millennials outnumber the Boomer generation in 1980, but they’re a smaller proportion of the overall population — i. e., the Boomer generation was a bigger “pig in the python” demographically.
Bachelor’s Degree or Higher
Florida’s Millennials are more likely to have a college education than their Boomer counterparts were in 1980 but less likely than Millennials across the U.S.
(full-time workers, infl ation-adjusted)
Florida’s Millennials earn less than their Boomer counterparts did in 1980.
Living at Home
Florida’s Millennials are more likely to live at home than their Boomer counterparts were in 1980. More than 1.4 million Millennials in Florida report living with their parents.
In the Workforce
Florida’s Millennials are less likely to be working than were Boomers.
Living in Poverty
(less than $11,880 per year)
Florida’s Millennials are more likely to be poor.
Florida’s Millennials are more likely to be single than were Boomers. Nearly seven out of 10 Millennials in Florida have never married.
Florida’s Millennials are more diverse than Florida’s Boomer generation, and they’re more diverse than Millennials across the country. Percent of 18-34 population that reported race and ethnicity as other than non-Hispanic white:
Miami-Dade County has the largest number of Millennials who moved there from another country — 14,776. Other counties with large numbers of immigrant Millennials:
Generations in a Nutshell
Baby Boomers (Born 1946-64)
• The Beatles
• Moon landing
• Competitive but optimistic
• Eager to put their stamp on institutions
• Boomers have a different sense of work-life balance than Millennials.
• Boomers may guard their work knowledge and need to look for opportunities to share and connect.
GenXers (Born 1965-79)
• Shuttle disaster
• MTV and CNN
• Latch-key kids
• GenXers need straight, unfiltered communication.
• Respect GenXers independence.
• GenXers need to ask themselves when being collaborative can help.
Millennials (Born 1980-95)
• Technology/ social media
• Climate change
• Economic uncertainty
• Environmentally conscious
• Millennials need to know what specific results are expected and need constant feedback, with plans to improve.
• Millennials like input but don’t like to be handed predetermined decisions.
• Millennials need to show that they’re doing the work.