In the following weeks thousands of young adults will participate in commencement exercises and join the ranks of fellow college graduates. They are young, vibrant, excited, and more likely than not, also nervous to begin the ‘real world’ and start their adult lives.
Among the multiple changes and things that must be figured out in a short amount of time, such as Claudia landing that first ‘real’ job, staying with the college boyfriend or girlfriend who’s moving back home, and realizing when the first student loan payments kick in. A main question, now that living in campus housing is no longer an option is, “where will I live?”
For many young Latinos, the answer is simple: living at home with Mama y Papa. The same holds true even for young Latinos who did not go away to college or university. According to the Pew Hispanic Center 45% of 18-34 year old Latinos live with their parents. Compared to non-Latino counterparts, Latinos are 18% more likely to live in a multi-generational home. And of those who are younger, bicultural Latino adults (18 to 29) 6 in 10 live with parents.
So, what gives? How is life really for young, adult, bicultural Latinos living with the ‘rents? These findings along with those from Tr3’s 2012 study of 18-34 year old Latinos living with family finds that these young adults are quite content with living at home. For some it is a solution to finding affordable housing especially when money is tight coupled with a competitive job market. It is not uncommon for young adults to remain in the household as they pursue higher education and save money or return to it once finished with school.
For others, it is a choice to remain home in spite of personal advances in education, career and relationships. In the Latino culture, the emphasis on the family versus the individual is strong; 40% say that they enjoy the bonding and togetherness that comes with living in a multi-generational household. Also, the coming of age, turning 18 doesn’t necessarily equate with being a full-fledged “adult” in the eyes of many mamas y papas. This may be why some young adults, 3 out of 10 do report that a difficult aspect is lack of freedom and privacy. Still, households with young adult children make it work by keeping in mind that both young adult and parents are important and thus maintaining mutual respect.
Like multiple aspects of a young person’s life, living in a multigenerational household for young Latinos creates dichotomies such as individual vs. family and child vs. adult, and that is a-ok for them too.
By Being Latino contributor Claudia Sermeño. Claudia is a Salvadoran-American educator working for a nonprofit youth development agency in Orange County, CA. She can be followed @ClaudiaSermeno.