For a young adult in the current economic climate, the only way you're living in one of these cushy homes is if you're living with your parents.
You can't rent one very easily, since they can't be divided up into multiple units or rented at all due to zoning and HOAs. Not to mention it's not typical to be a renter in these neighborhoods to begin with, so even finding a rental is nearly impossible in some areas.
Then of course, after the housing bubble crashed and the subsidies went away, a mortgage for one of these became a big challenge to achieve, and who has the savings sitting around for upkeep and emergency maintenance?
Boomer parents, and a handful of lucky gen-xers are pretty much the only people who could comfortably acquire and hold onto these houses, so it only makes sense that sticking to them like glue is the best strategy if you wanted one.
And there's also the fact that it's just not cool to live in the 'burbs, where you grew up, in the first place. The mental justification has to be "well I'm saving money at least". Saving money, means crashing with the parents. After all, it's "just temporary".
Those are at least my very subjective observations that might be overlooked in that study...
This is a very coastal/urban-centric view, IME. The large majority of my social circle growing up in suburban Dallas (a) still lives in suburban Dallas and (b) found a detached home before age 30 (if not 25). I moved away from the suburbs, and to a big coastal city, and so did almost "everyone I know" out here (with a lot of selection bias), but judging from that and housing prices in those crazy markets doesn't work for extrapolating to the country as a whole.
Of the ones still living at home, I don't know anyone thinking "it would be just as cool to have my own place, so might as well save money." The causality is reversed: "I'm broke, so might as well save as much money as possible, and my parents' place is big."
"Not cool" starts being a lot less relevant pretty quickly after getting out of college for most people, IME. Suburban houses are bigger than apartments. They're less noisy. They're more pet friendly. You have a garage for storage/workshopping/whatever. You have more space for starting a family. All those reasons still apply as much as they ever did, the big change from ten years ago to today is economic, not around coolness.
In the greater Seattle area you'd be stressed to find a back alley condo for that cheap. My rent in the outskirts of Redmond for a 3 bedroom apartment is more than my mother's mortgage for her 5 bedroom house in Bellevue, which, despite being a 70 year old split-level home with low ceilings and a hill for a lot in a forgotten neighborhood without so much as one sidewalk, was appraised two years ago for over $750,000.
I can afford to live on my own, but hell if I can afford a reasonable down payment on a house within 25 miles of where I work.
What he's describing about Dallas is true for the nearly 200 million Americans who live in the Midwest and the South. Cheap housing is the norm in the United States. I'm not bothered by people on the coasts complaining about housing costs, but you look foolish when you make generalizations about your generation that don't apply to the majority of the country.
It's even unclear how real the urbanization trend is as opposed to a preference for a small set of dense locations by college-educated people in a specific age range.
Which is to say:
If you can't afford to live in a coastal state, then what you need more than anything else is a U-Haul.
The demand is there and it's not going away. Whatever you're hoping for, it's too late.
The solution is trivially simple: build a lot of public housing.
If you have a hard time imagining what any part of that plan might look like, take a look at Singapore: https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Public_housing_in_Singapore
>Sure, build a bunch of concrete high rises for tech worker
I guess SF's bus drivers, restaurant servers, etc. don't deserve somewhere affordable to live because it might spoil the "aesthetic"?
You're getting 1.5x the income (usually with longer hours) and paying 5x for the house.
You're also paying more for other random stuff like groceries, eating out, gasoline, electricity, etc.
You're also paying lots more for taxes. Some states have no income tax. Some states have no sales tax. Some have neither!
Also, what's this nonsense about Decatur, Illinois? St. Louis and Cincinnati and Nashville and Pittsburgh and so on all have a bunch of pre-WWII, walkable, interesting neighborhoods, with little restaurants and bars and people putting on poetry readings and bands playing in basement clubs and jazz quartets playing at wine and cheese parties and concert halls that host national acts and major sports franchises and yuppies and hipsters and Python Meetups and comedy clubs and big pretty parks and coffee shops and whatever else you can think of.
No, they are emphatically not like San Francisco or NYC. But don't be silly. Millions of people live in those places. Did you really think they're all just skipping stones and waiting to die?
I'm quite glad I grew up here, because I think I'd be just the type of asshole who'd make jokes about Decatur, Illinois had I not. And you know what? I'd have been wrong.
And to really strain this metaphor, people who have all their wealth tied up in a Ferrari would be a lot better off if they sold it and used the gains to live a comfortable life.
I actually don't see what can be done about it. But it's a bit strange to project Google numbers to the entire generation.
Rent in Brooklyn got them 12 acres 40 minutes away from Uptown Charlotte, and a house to boot.
"Cheap" housing only goes so far when your employment is 30 hours per week at the local Walmart for $9/hour. You're trying to pretend this is some "coastal" phenomenon, but you can't get there from here - you can't get the number of young people who have left the nest down from 60+% to just barely over 30% without it involving the entire country.
Young people in middle America can't afford to move out either.
In California the median household income is $67,458, and the median house sales price is $405,000, or about 6x median income.
So no, it is not actually true that the lower housing prices in flyover states are offset by lower incomes. Housing in California is proportionally twice as expensive as it is in Ohio.
If you look at per capita income instead of household, Ohio gives $135,500/$26,937 ~= 5, and California gives $405,000/$30,441 = 13 By that standard, California is 2.6 times more expensive instead of only 2.
But you'd need to earn 159k per year in San Francisco to match the spending power of that $55k in St. Louis. And even that wouldn't be nearly enough to reach parity in home purchasing. Housing is 790% more expensive in San Francisco!
I get that it's fun to joke about flyover country, but the numbers are what they are. People simply are not struggling to move out of the house in St. Louis in the same way that they are in the Bay Area, for example.
Which is to say, once again, that there must be other factors at play.
They're subjective but it's important to realize both scenarios and everything in between exist, and to acknowledge when you're only considering the extremities of that range.
What this is, more than anything else, is ignorant. I think I understand how it happened. The inner cores of the Midwestern cities that give large metros their names really have been gutted. They were literally ripped through by highways, intentionally segregated, their manufacturing base decimated.
And boy oh boy does this story have legs. It's sort of fun to flip through the destruction porn. Pictures of brick piles where houses once stood titillate.
So, it must sound as though entire regions are falling apart. But it's just not so.
If you were to do a quick search for information about St. Louis, MO, you'd learn that the city has a paltry median income of about $30k, a dwindling population of about 300k, and a pathetic land area of only 66 miles squared.
But the City of St. Louis refers to a very small part of a much larger region, an area myopically bound by voters who in 1876 couldn't imagine much happening in the farmlands beyond those lines.
The region today -- much of it on those old farmlands -- has 2.5 million people and a metro-wide median household income of around $55k.
This is the true picture of the region, though most descriptions of it are drawn from only its worst parts.
The fact is that, for many people, the opportunity in places like California lags far behind the increased cost of living. Lots and lots of regular folks would be far better off relocating to places they've long-ago dismissed without a serious look.
Yes, we have winters. And no ocean. But, yes, there's actually culture (of the kind generated everywhere that two and a half million humans live). And good housing. And, most important: you can actually afford it.
1. Crumbling ghettos (as you describe)
2. Crumbling non-ghetto rust-belt that's still not pretty
3. Rural areas beset by meth and herion.
4. Vast-scale suburbs with indeed little to no culture and fairly thin on jobs.
5. Areas like the coasts but costing close to the price of the coast -
But I'm sure there's good stuff between that.
Also, the City Of St. Louis is certainly the limit of the broad St. Louis ghetto, as the Ferguson events clearly shows. The metropolitan area is basically the 2nd or third most dangerous city in the US (behind Detroit and sometimes New Orleans).
This is not only incorrect, it's perhaps the most notorious example of the problems caused by comparing cities at a level smaller than the MSA. The St. Louis MSA is, in fact, about middle of the pack on crime. See here:
The division between St. Louis City and St. Louis County creates a lot of issues for this region, but the fact that you could make your comment with such confidence demonstrates that the area's primary challenge is image marketing.
To illustrate this, imagine one region where the baseline crime rate is not extreme, but above average all across the region. Now, think of another place where most of the region is pretty safe, but one pocket of the area has an extremely high rate.
These two regions might have identical crime rates. But which one would you rather live in?
This is why the FBI recommends against using its own numbers to make comparisons like the grandparent's:
"Each year when Crime in the United States is published, many entities—news media, tourism agencies, and other groups with an interest in crime in our Nation—use reported figures to compile rankings of cities and counties. These rankings, however, are merely a quick choice made by the data user; they provide no insight into the many variables that mold the crime in a particular town, city, county, state, region, or other jurisdiction. Consequently, these rankings lead to simplistic and/or incomplete analyses that often create misleading perceptions adversely affecting cities and counties, along with their residents."
Is that why the vast majority of "school decides to teach Creationism in science classes" type stories emerge from flyover country?
Sort by date, then check the states.
Ohio. Mississippi. Kansas. Idaho.
No sir, you do not have good schools compared to the rest of the country.
Amen! You get tired of living in basically a post-college dorm scene really quick, all the meanwhile paying 1000-2000 for the "luxury" when you can turn around and put that same money into 4x the space, and be actually building equity in the process.
Also, the burbs (Grapevine, Colleyville, Arlington, Euless, Irving, etc.) are soulsucking tracts of aparments and housing subdivisions. Walking around is hard, biking difficult (getting murdered on large streets and highways), and the only non-chain stuff tends to be overly-face folksy town centers that people are moving towards (see Southlake, but even then it's a lot of big chains because of how much it costs to be there).
And that's before you even go into the shittiness of commuting around Dallas.
I gladly commute so I can come home to something more than an apartment or condo, because that is all that is available or affordable.
May I ask what city/neighborhood you're in? I'm looking to escape from San Francisco to do that exact list of things.
I can probably drive to all those places (work, school, grocery) faster than you can walk to them. Had I been willing to live on a street with cars passing by, I could have been within a few hundred feet of work+school or the grocery store. As it is, they are all within 3 miles without really any traffic. Getting to work is 3 minutes. Getting to groceries is about 7 minutes, and I can actually bring back enough stuff for a large family. School would be 1 or 2 minutes.
Oh, as a bonus, I never face the threat of personal crime.
If you're talking about being able to claim mortgage interest on your taxes then that hasn't gone away yet. I don't know what other kinds of home owner subsidies exist.
It contributes to economic unfairness. Paying less taxes just because one owns a house is not optimal use of tax dollars when people who can't afford a house are doing pretty badly.
A homeowner pays less in housing costs (mortgages aren't subject to rent increases by a landlord) and pay less taxes than someone who rents who makes the same and they get to keep all the equity. It's incredibly unfair.
The historical reason for the subsidy is to increase home ownership. It's not really helping anymore.
The reason is that this, like nearly everything else in this thread, only applies to the coasts or for houses that would be considered quite expensive elsewhere.
The median home value in St. Louis, for example, is less than $150k. The standard deduction for a married couple filing jointly is $12,600. The math is pretty simple from there.
Fast forward to today and in all but a few very progressive communities, the fear of changing these zoning laws negatively impacting property value has essentially frozen them in time. So in a lot of suburban areas you couldn't build separate living units on one single family lot, even if you wanted to. Or at least it would be quite costly.
For instance my brother-in-law is a planner in a suburban California city, discussed this once with him... apparently in his city you need to add 2 additional parking spaces for every extra housing unit added to your property. Want to make an in-law unit for grandma? 2 parking spots please. Don't have room for an extra driveway? No permit.
Basically unless new construction was zoned to be a higher-density area, for apartments or townhomes etc, for a developer it doesn't make much sense to build with extra units in mind. Especially if the builder has to put up a fight for permits or spend that much more money to meet code. In that case, it's more profitable to just be building condos.
I think they don't because then you get into multi dwelling zoning and if the property was zoned for single-family homes it could get complicated (probably not by much).
The world is certainly richer than it was in the 80s. We are vastly more efficient at producing all sorts of goods. So, then, why is the current generation of Americans unable to afford what was available to the middle class previously?
I believe that the answers to this crucial question are obscure and are unlikely to be found in conventional economic and political analysis.
The answer is multifaceted, but part of the problem is that some of the major reasons are extremely politically inconvenient. For example, what are the economic consequences of women entering the workforce in large numbers in recent generations? Increased labor supply drives down wages per employee, then more two income families increase price inflation (especially real estate prices). Together they transfer most of the economic value of women working into the hands of employers and existing land owners, when the economic value of the domestic labor it displaced had previously gone primarily to the woman and her family. And people who remain single are extra screwed because they suffer the same wage and price consequences without the second income.
But for cultural and biological reasons when one spouse is a homemaker it will almost always be the wife rather than the husband, so policies that would increase the standard of living by reducing the number of two income families have consequences anathema to the left (fewer women working) and the right (less value captured by employers and land owners). So we don't talk about it.
According to conventional economics, quite the opposite: it makes the economy bigger and creates more jobs.
(If growing the workforce increased unemployment, then bigger countries would have high unemployment and population growth would also increase unemployment).
I'm astounded by this comment. Are you saying that the obvious answers of asset based inflation caused by our monetary policy does not majorly impact real estate in a way that hurts younger generations and the middle class?
I can't see how. It's basic math.
If assets rise in price and two people are leveraged into assets the same amount, who gets richer, the person with a 100k asset or the person with a 500k asset?
I very much view this as an intergenerational financial war, the Boomers (and Greatest) on the Millennials and X.
To the extent that Baby Boomers foemented low interest rates and low inflation ( although that's arguable too - the 1980s were not exactly peak Boomer years - see the 1990s for that to really take shape ) you are correct, but it's really just collateral damage. When you make this much more money sitting on land for umpety years until its developed, that's the business culture you'll end up with.
Throw in the effect of 401k plans dragging everybody into the stock market and you get an even fuller picture.
A lot of Boomers are really boned. Like, poor. More than is commonly written about.
ObDisclosure: I am a cusp baby between the Boomers and GenX, early '60s model.
It just so happens a lot of the 'rich' are boomers and not rich are millennials, but that's current happenstance.
It's debatable. I was in my 20's in the 80's. I was able to buy a 3br/2ba, 1500sq ft. house when I was 26. I had my school loans paid off a couple of years after I graduated - that's not happening for 20-somethings now.
> I believe that the answers to this crucial question are obscure
I don't think they're so obscure. If we are wealthier now, then it's likely that the wealth is in much fewer hands than it was in the 80's and before. Income stagnation. Wealth accumulating in fewer and fewer hands. Back in the 1860's Marx told us this is what happens in Capitalist economies. While you may not agree with his prescription (and I certainly don't agree with most of it) his diagnosis was pretty much spot on.
No, it's really not debatable the world is richer than in the 80s. Much of that wealth has been accumulating outside the US, though, particularly in India and China.
With interest rates as low as they are you could definitely get into a 1500 sq ft. house by age 26 today. You just can't do it in the places many 26 year olds want to live.
At current interest rates you can make payments on a $150k home if you make $15/hr.
Where in the country can you not make $15/hr by age 26?
Any town where the only jobs are at Walmart and the feed-and-seed store. Walmart doesn't pay those kinds of wages in rural locations (or probably anywhere else, unless you're a manager).
But from a US perspective we seem to be poorer now.
> With interest rates as low as they are you could definitely get into a 1500 sq ft. house by age 26 today. You just can't do it in the places many 26 year olds want to live.
I bought that house in a place where 26-year-olds want to live (a West Coast city). Interest rate was 10%, but I was able to pay off the mortgage in 9 years. I don't think a lot of 26-year-olds are in that position these days. Too much student loan debt and houses much more expensive as compared to incomes.
This chart  seems to imply that 21% of people under 25 own a house, which is higher than the 14% of under 25's who owned a house in 1994.
...maybe someone can check this against another data source.
Our parents just didn't get to buy a house for cheap. They also got all the increase in value. We have to buy an expensive house that probably won't increase in value all that much.
Why is housing more expensive? I'm not totally sure, but I suspect it's the effect of stretching suburbia to the limits. When my parents house was built it was the frontier between rural Illinois and the Chicago suburbs. Now it's considered a middle rung suburb. There are suburbs an hour further away from Chicago. But we've hit the limits on what a person can tolerate re:commutes. You just can't commute for over 2 hours each way.
We should be rezoning inner rung suburbs and cities for increased density housing.
Then again telecommuting and/or autonomous cars might destroy all the downsides to commuting.
Probably because land area is zero-sum and population is twice the size it was in the 60s.
Also rent-seeking, foreign investors buying houses with cash, etc.
It's a combination of factors.
> We should be rezoning inner rung suburbs and cities for increased density housing.
Agreed. Most of the suburbs are hideous, inefficient (most houses built before 1973 have marginal to no insulation) and in many places crumbling from age.
I think it's that simple.
Young Americans are living with their parents instead of saving money rather than living with their parents to save money.
What happens when they have children? Where will their adult children live? In their parents tiny 2 room apartments?
Basically, the full effects of the declining net income of adult Americans is being masked by people living off the accumulated wealth of their parents (both consuming their houses and getting hand-outs). Which implies that there's cliff that the American lifestyle will fall off at some point and then things will be ugly even in comparison to now.
Anecodotally, most of my mid 30's friends have either 0 or 1 child, a few that got started earlier have two.
On the other hand, the millions of legal and illegal immigrants, especially from Latin America, are keeping the birth rate up. They do, in fact, many times live in much more crowded conditions. I have met a few Hispanic immigrants in my area as I speak Spanish, and in each case, they lived in single family homes with multiple families / generations.
Does anyone have a break down of what percentage of people live in single-family homes, vs. an apartment/other?
Do you believe in the Ricardian argument for free trade? If so, why did we not become richer as other countries became better trading partners?
We also profited greatly supplying the wars. We haven't had a "market" like that since then. The US was mostly its own customer during the cold war.
My question is: the standard Ricardian argument for international free trade assumes that as trading partners become more productive, all trading partners benefit. Do you think this is the case? Certainly the original post does, as confirmed in his response.
If that is so, why would other countries becoming better at making things make us poorer?
What we need is not the creation of new houses, but new cities, or the dramatic rebuilding of the old ones. We need high density urban environments with low cost of living built around foot and public transit, no cars, and with mixed use building again, without the zoning hell that currently cripples growth in almost every corner of the US today.
Who is "we"?
Actual, real-world people vote against high-density urban environments with their feet, and pretty much always have. It's just that in past ages it was only the rich who could afford a country home. That's changed, thanks largely to modern transportation making it possible to work in the city and live in the burbs.
If that were true, then the prices in high-density urban environments would be much lower than they actually are.
This coffee's claim to fame is that the beans have been eaten (and then excreted) by a cat-like animal called a palm civet.
Now, does that high price mean that most people want to drink this coffee? Nope. Most people would avoid it at all costs. There is a small group of connoisseurs who enjoy this coffee. The price is high because, as small as that group might be, the (tiny) supply is insufficient to satisfy their demand at any lower price.
Similarly, there's a subset of people (mostly, though not exclusively, young, single, and childless) who actually enjoy living in dense urban environments, and will drive up the price accordingly. Those people are not the norm.
For the current upcoming generation, they do not have the means to afford those homes either. If you want to house them independently they need denser Urban living since modern transportation in the form of personal automobiles is also incredibly expensive.
Society at large has decided that it likes suburbs and McMansions just fine. You don't get to make that decision for other people, just because you use the word "we".
'And half the point of this article is that "young Americans" cannot afford those country homes with long commutes'
Well, then, that's the problem needs to be solved, rather than patching it by forcing people back into the crowded urban environments that they so obviously do not want to live in.
'denser Urban living since modern transportation in the form of personal automobiles is also incredibly expensive.'
1) Why does it need to be dense and urban?
2) No, they aren't. In 1950 a median-priced new car cost about $1,500, somewhat more than half the median annual wage. Today you can get a new Ford Focus for about $17,000, which is... somewhat more than half the $32,140 median annual wage for those over 25.
Also, most families in 1950 had one car, period. Most families now have at least two. That doesn't tend to support your claim that cars have gotten more expensive.
You don't have children, do you?
It's pretty straightforward actually. The change you're looking for starts in the 80s: http://eighty-thousand-hours-wp-production.s3.amazonaws.com/...
TL;DR Productivity is kept by corporations, wages are stagnant because of it, and the US doesn't have a strong labor political party.
Raise the minimum wage and index hours worked per week to productivity. Productivity goes up? People work less but make the same amount of income.
This makes labor less valuable, and decreases labour's negotiating power, preventing an increase in wage from an increase in productivity.
That is, if your work is augmented by a machine, then it's a hell of a lot easier to replace you.
Everyone so quickly forgets, "Let them eat cake."
These will only be exasperated further by the onset of automation and robotics in the coming generation(s).
I don't have a doubt that we could easily turn around the benefits of automation and robotics towards favouring the middle and working classes.
My concern though, is that the few that are currently gaining wealth from reduced labour costs in favour of productivity have a stronger grasp on where this wealth goes, than the majority outside of socialist strongholds like Scandinavia and some European states. And that trend will continue.
Edit: grammar, shit pre\post-tense structuring.
I think the most likely culprit is what Steve Keen says it is: debt.
I wonder why rich people before 1980 wanted less money and had worse means of getting it.
Easy. It was harder and less acceptable to use international labor then, there were that many fewer college educated people, and that's 36 years behind the current level of automation technology.
This is very true. I know the big US car unions ended up screwing both the employees and employers, but have you ever wondered what would have happened in the 60's or 70's, had the line manager come over and told his assembly line team that they were going to not only be fired next month, but if they wanted a severance, they'd have to train their replacement recently imported from the third world?
I can guarantee you that there is a good chance this mgmt. team would probably end up dead or severely injured soon afterwards.
Today, the same circumstances elicit, at most, a few angry comments on some online media forum.
We've been conditioned well by out masters.
I imagine the reasonable chance that someone snapping figured they could get away with it, particularly in a close knit group that routinely went fishing or hunting together and would say that's exactly where they were at the time something happened; was /much/ higher back then.
Also today everyone knows that someone else will just be hired to do the same thing. Today when some kind of correction does happen it'll either be approved from on high by those seeking to avoid an old-school revolution, or it will be a bloody zerg-rush.
You don't have to like unions to admit they benefited workers. In fact, the money spent on the destruction of unions points to it - why bother if they didn't help workers?
The post-WWII bargain, where productivity growth was split, is gone and not coming back. Whether there's a way to give workers a voice again or not is an interesting question.
Of course, if the class differential gets too big, there's always the pitchfork and torch route, which I don't think anyone (OK, most sane people) wants.
Yes, but we have been told that international free trade benefits us all. Do you disagree?
> there were that many fewer college educated people,
Yes, but we have been told that education is the key to our future, and a more educated workforce should be able to produce more and better goods for us all. Do you disagree?
> that's 36 years behind the current level of automation technology.
Yes, but automation was what dragged us out of the stone age and through the industrial revolution. It has, at times, apparently made us vastly richer. Do you disagree?
I don't say all this to be a dick (well, OK, kind of) and I agree to some extent with each of your points, but I think there is a larger issue at the root: debt.
I find Steve Keens analysis compelling.
If you have 10 jobs paying people $10, and replace them with 50 jobs paying people $1, but keep the prices of the products the same; 10 people now don't have jobs, and 50 people each don't make enough money to buy any products. You've increased productivity 5x and cut costs in half but all of the gains go to shareholders.
> A more educated workforce should be able to produce more and better goods for us all.
Same as above.
> Automation...has, at times, apparently made us vastly richer.
> I think there is a larger issue at the root: debt.
It's the same issue. Debt is just another thing to rent to poor people.
On debt, you really should read Keen. He has the only predictive economic model I've seen that actually works, and debt is the crucial factor.
it is always government. from sucking too much money out of the banking industry to make available for business needs to government trying to pick favorites in new industries and distorting the markets. from playing rate games, backing securities, to inducing lending risk by pressuring banks to lend to those they would prefer not too
Even the ACA damaged the ability of those to earn a living by putting in place that infamous twenty hour rule. That wasn't done to benefit working people, that was done to benefit certain types of employers but more it was done to distort unemployment numbers by artificially raising the number of people needed to do that same amount of work each week. This ain't much different than pleads to make college free, keep able bodied people off the job lines.
Sure many of the rich are getting richer but they only do so because those writing the laws are in constant election and reelection cycles. Where they try to write laws prevent you businesses and such putting money into politics but slip in rules that allow PACs to take 350k from one person; provided "wink wink" its not targeted to a specific politician.
tl;dr. Government is the source of the wage stagflation.
It is never this simple.
It's not obvious to me. Possibly only because I'm uninformed, though, so feel free to point me at any relevant data.
There are a variety of trends which could be happening and which might explain this particular cohabitation-with-one's-parents phenomenon without having to mean that the current young generation has less wealth than its predecessors.
We've been kicking our earnings up to the top more and more.
My uncles lived with their Mom until they got married. They are roughly Silent Generation or WWII. Its just The Way It Was. We had a massive housing boom; now it's over.
This is a BAD sign. It is indicative of an economy that is not working for most Americans. Making excuses and disregarding these proxies for American quality of life does no one favors except for the 1%.
You are also not allowed have sex in these countries. Sexual repression sucks ass. I would take poverty over sexual repression. As someone who has experienced this; it has had major psychological impact on my life that I feel the effect to this day. And I am not alone, millions of youth in my country experience this. Imagine what kind of society that breeds, imagine living in a sex segregated society.
It sucks if it not the case with your country, but do not make it a general case.
What should be done is that market should be encouraged to provide enough housing that young people can afford when they need it. Same way Ford did with cars.
Is there an ethnic variation to this, or does this apply to all groups?
My impression is that most Americans look at it and say "that's different", but don't look down on it.
The college industry is big money and they are incessant in their message that if you spend tens of thousands you will be a success. This implies that those who don't are not trying or worse.
You will notice the important of the individual in these countries, getting out on your own, supporting yourself. being your own person, not what your parents want to be.
This is a good thing.
Its quite common in America, too.
This is not a good development, even if they used to do it in England in the 18th century.
History should lead us somewhere. Is this already lost on us?
Perhaps this trend could be explained to some extent by the fact(?) that mommy & daddy have a lot more space at home nowadays than daddy's parents did when he turned 18, making living with the parents more attractive to today's young adults than it was to prior generations.
Not at all suggesting this would be the only likely factor, of course.
There are some caveats there: these data are for new, single-family houses only.
In many urban job centers, people tend not to live in new housing, or in single-family homes -- particularly not people between 18 and 35.
So lots of people are living in newer homes.
The graph only accounts for 45 million houses in the US, including only the houses owned by the young and the old. But that is a small fraction of US homes. (If those were all homes, the average household size would be 7 people.)
We're talking going from ~2000 sq. ft. to ~1100 sq. ft., old construction, no insulation, etc.
If you really wanted to make a comparison between equal houses, the difference is more like 20x ($3M for a similar house in the Bay Area).
If you're comparing NYC to St. Louis and desire a 60th floor apartment in a high rise, then the COL difference is infinity or mu or NAN or something. You simply can't make the comparison.
The same is true when comparing the average detached home in the Midwest to San Francisco. For most people, the answer to, "how much more would I have to make to buy the same house out there?" is "it doesn't matter, because you'll never make that much."
Obviously the standard of living is in decline. An article such as this provides some evidence, as does the well known fact that the male median wage has been in decline since 1973.
I can't fathom how anyone can claim that virtually any American is better off than his counterpart from any time in the past. So let's do a thought experiment: can you pick a past time in USA history where you'd like to be transported, keeping everything else (such as your economic quintile) equal, where you'd be better off? Or forget about keeping things equal, would you rather go back a hundred years and be in John Rockefeller's shoes? There's a good argument to be made  that you're better off than he was.
I don't much care for safer cars, longer life expectancy, instant world wide communications compared to the freedom of living a much better life during one of the most prosperous times in US history. Quality of life experiences feels like it was much better before the 21st century race to the bottom. What's the point of living "better" if you're going to be chained to a desk or job for 50-60 years, or constantly have to retrain decade after decade?
You can still do that if you're willing to make sacrifices. A colleague of mine gets by on one income - I don't know what he makes now, but he started at $35k about five years ago. And this is in the SF bay area.
When you do the math having both spouses working doesn't increase your standard of living very much because of taxes and child care.
Does anyone have statistics on how many "traditional" single-income households there are in the U.S.? I live with my wife and four kids (home schooled) in a fairly large house, with a single income under that is apparently under the starting salaries for newly minted software-engineering graduates in the big urban areas.
It provide an interesting view on the late 60s to mid 70s in the US.
Not that I think white Americans deserve some extra-consideration but the recent decline in the life expectancy of white Americans , coupled with indeed further medical discoveries, seems like a demonstration that the effective decline in wages is able to outpace even these better medicines.
- Quality of jobs
- Career growth
- Job security
These are less accessible than 30-40 years ago, while surely you can enjoy the magic of Facebook on your shiny iPhone, which were admittedly unavailable then.
Robert Gordon makes the point in his book, The Rise and Fall of American Growth, that life expectancy improved twice as much from 1900 - 1950 as from 1950 - 2000.
> And our standard of living is obviously far higher than at any time in the past
Human health declined beginning with the agricultural era. I mean, you don't even have any knowledge of every time in the past, yet you are so confident in claiming our lives have never been better.
> the access to more and better medicines, having at our fingertips
You do realise that the extreme majority of illnesses experienced today are caused by the modern world and lifestyles? These medicines are designed to fix problems that didn't exist previously. The most commonly sold medicine is probably heart medication or something like that. These were things people did not experience 50,000 years ago, or even 500 years ago.
> safer and longer-lasting cars
Do you realise that most people just use cars to sit in traffic for hours going to a job they hate? You consider that a sign of how great things are?
> longer life expectancy
Well it is now declining, but quality over quantity. Sitting around at 90 years old watching tv isn't something I would count as life.
> ubiquitous and free to nearly-free instantaneous communication
social media and communication over the internet is a terrible replacement for real-life communication. Social media is actually really depressing. There are even recent studies that link time on social media with depression.
These forms of communication are usually just a sign of isolation.
great for ice-cream
> lower pollution
lol? Climate change?
> I can't fathom how anyone can claim that virtually any American is better off than his counterpart from any time in the past
I can't even fathom how someone who hasn't lived in any time but now can make that statement. Literally any time in human history? How was it like, I don't know, 200,000 years ago? Tell us. You will mention lower life expectancy. That is mostly due to infant mortality rates. Many people lived until they were 70. They had actual lives, not sitting at a computer typing shit all day.
Everything you say is complete propaganda of a corrupt capitalist society and you don't even realise it.
For an account of living in agricultural (pre-industrial) society, I wholeheartedly recommend "The Peasants" by W. Reymont - the Nobel prize winning, extremely realistic account of how life was in a small village in central Poland around year 1900. In short: everyone was working pretty hard, but only the peasants who owned land were living a decent life. The others (a majority) worked on farms owned by the village's "elite" and always feared about their future (not to mention they sometimes didn't even own homes so they slept in for example their master's stable, next to the piles of horse shit). On the other hand, the work was more varied that most jobs today and there wasn't that much to do in the winters so everyone rested then.
I don't know if there's any reasonable way you can actually measure "standard of living", since it arguably includes "happiness" which is difficult to quantify.
John D. Rockefeller also did live to a rather old age. Not everyone in that era was as fortunate.
Maybe you missed the sub-title, which is "For the first time since the 1880s, more young Americans are living with their parents than with a romantic partner."
"I can't fathom how anyone can claim"
I can't fathom that you mean this literally so I assume you offer this in the rhetorical sense. You may wish to consider "Don't Get Offended":
"One oft-underestimated threat to epistemic rationality is getting offended. While getting offended by something sometimes feels good and can help you assert moral superiority, in most cases it doesn't help you figure out what the world looks like. In fact, getting offended usually makes it harder to figure out what the world looks like, since it means you won't be evaluating evidence very well."
I am guessing that, in reality, you do have the power to fathom such a thing. If you need help, there are thousands of well-reasoned essays on the web, which make the point that you claim to have difficulty fathoming. Google will steer you to them.
Or you can play Devil's Advocate to your own mind, and make the case yourself, to yourself.
 - http://www.rita.dot.gov/bts/sites/rita.dot.gov.bts/files/pub...
 - https://www.census.gov/const/uspricemon.pdf
Inflation adjusted wages have been quite stagnant while measures of inflation are rather dubious to say the least.
My old car is indeed a bit more reliable than my previous old car but both were reliable - I can't see that compensating for more or less everything costing more relative my relatively fixed income.
"If the median price of a house has increased by 75% but the house is 50% bigger, the effective price increase is barely above inflation."
can be reconciled to this:
"For the first time since the 1880s, more young Americans are living with their parents than with a romantic partner."
People are angry about the decline in the standard of living, and for most us, the justification for that anger is obvious.
There is no need to be rude. I posted twice in this conversation and linked to sources both times. I'm not sure how that gives the impression that I am being unreasonable.
>ask yourself whether this...can be reconciled to this...
It certainly can because they are measuring two separate things. Housing costs are up, but on a rate basis they are not as far up as most think. More Americans are living at home. The former is likely partially responsible for the latter, but it is unlikely that it is the only cause. As the article suggests, another cause is likely that younger people simply aren't living with romantic partners as much as the number of people living alone is also higher.
Well sorry, the exact same 1200 ft^2 brick home built in the 50s, that you bought for 2 year's salary (with a high school education) in the 70's, NOW costs 6 times my salary (or 12 times the median salary for the area).
The $600 iPhone which I absolutely need for any modern job (thanks to BYOD) isn't gonna make a dent in the cost of housing, health care, and college these days.
I agree with your overall point that things like housing, healthcare, and education are much more expensive today and are much more difficult to acquire, securely, on a median income. However, when you say things like "I absolutely need a $600 iPhone for any modern job", it comes across like out-of-touch whining. No, you do not need the latest iPhone for any modern job. You want the latest iPhone. You can get a very capable, brand new Android phone for around $100 bucks.
If part of your job is conveying status, bringing an Android to work conveys a completely different kind of status than an iPhone. It may not feel good, but that doesn't mean $600 for an iPhone, even when you can barely afford food/rent, is poorly spent.
Functionally you don't need a smartphone to do most work. And that's coming from someone who works with the devices at a major telecom...
Location. Location. Location.
1,480 sq. ft., $23,000
918 sq. ft., $18,000
1,056 sq. ft., $24,999
1,134 sq. ft., $27,000
2,064 sq. ft., $28,500:
Everyone else who's not in this small minority still has a right to complain about coastal/urban housing prices.
Also, I strong suspect this varies by region and suburb versus city.
Actually looking at your data, it's the size of newly built houses. So definitely the houses themselves are getting bigger.
But with the occupants of all the houses, old and new, getting on average poorer, I'd be most interested in the average and median square footage that Americans live in and I don't think your data really gives data on that.
This country has a housing problem and this is the root of it.
I say this as someone who lived with his parents for two years during college, and would gladly pay the $12k/year it would have cost me to get those two years back, so maybe I'm biased, but nearly everyone I've talked to who's been living with their parents has had negative ramifications from it. Some romantic, some social development, some just general annoyance re: dealing with their parents quirks.
And I mean as a parent, my goal is helping my child develop into a fully autonomous adult. Fully autonomous does not mean 'depends on me for housing.'
I very much prefer a simple "check-in-mailbox" relationship with the person who owns my dwelling. I actually like my parents, but I sure don't want them as landlords!
I moved out when I was 18 and never went back.
>This country has a housing problem and this is the root of it.
This country has practically unlimited space for housing. We do not have land short; much less a land shortage caused by people living in comfortable houses.