NJ highest in nation for adults living with parents

But Hudson County clocks in much lower

What used to be the norm – graduating from school and finding a place of your own – is increasingly challenging for the millennial generation. Roughly 47 percent of New Jerseyeans aged 18-34 live at home with parents, the highest rate in the country, according to the U.S. Census Bureau’s 2015 American Community Survey. Connecticut is the state with the second largest percentage, at 41.6 percent, and New York is third with 40.6 percent. Nationwide, about a third of 18-34 year-olds live in their parents’ home.
“The lack of job opportunities combined with high student debt and housing costs are all main factors keeping kids living at home,” said James Hughes, dean of the Edward J. Bloustein School of Planning and Public Policy at Rutgers University.
In Hudson County, however, only 27.7 percent live with parents, by far the lowest of any county in the state. While lack of economic opportunity and young people staying in school longer keep people at home longer, those who do move out seek better prospects in cities.
“Millennials that are not living at home move to Hudson County,” Hughes said. “If they’re not living with their parents, they don’t want to stay out in Hunterdon County, in Sussex County, it’s boring. They’re suffering from suburban fatigue. Millennials want a 24/7 live-work-play lifestyle.”

“Where I grew up was very cheap because not many people wanted to live there. They pretty much wanted to live in this tri-state area.” – John Krummer
Hughes said that the 18-34 age group is growing much faster in Hudson County compared to other counties, many of which have declining populations in that demographic. Hudson County has the highest population of 18-34 year-olds in the state at 197,745.
Hughes said job opportunities in New York City and Jersey City and the availability of public transit to get to and from those jobs was drawing young people to Hudson County. But that lifestyle has a cost. New Jersey is in the top five in the country in monthly housing spending. “Housing costs are so expensive throughout New Jersey that young people aren’t saving, or they have a very low savings rate,” Hughes said.
He added, “Those living at home with their parents are able to save because their parents are very indulgent and won’t accept rent from them.”

Voices from the county

John Krummer, 27, is from Northern Indiana and has been living in Bayonne for four years. He lives in a two-bedroom apartment with a part-time roommate, a typical living arrangement for his demographic. “There’s such high demand for housing out here,” he said. “Where I grew up was very cheap because not many people wanted to live there. They pretty much wanted to live in this tri-state area.” He blames his generation’s housing situation on the high cost of housing in the state and increased demand for housing. “The property taxes are extremely high,” Krummer said, “combined with the push-out of people from Manhattan to the surrounding areas.”
Loreen Duran lives in West New York with two roommates. She graduated from Memorial High School and is now a freshman at Hudson County Community College.
She says it’s harder to live outside your parents’ house. “There’s so many bills to pay,” she said, “but in all honesty, I got lucky with a high-paying job. If I didn’t have that, I’d have to have two jobs to keep myself going.”
She makes $12,50 an hour working part-time at Whole Foods. Both her roommates work as well.
After graduating, she’d like to live in a place where housing is cheaper than in West New York.
Katelyn Gedecki, 30, recently moved from her parents’ home in Sussex County and shares an apartment with her partner in Jersey City Heights. At 35.7 percent, Hudson County has the highest percentage of 18-34 year-olds living with a partner or spouse. “Being at home sucked,” Gedecki said, “but at least I could save. But it’s a bit of a paradox, you know, because if you stay at home, you have financial security but no job opportunities. Here you have the job but you can’t save.”


Hughes identified “cross-currents” in the housing market for young people in the county. More people are coming from both sides –from New York City for the relatively cheaper New Jersey housing market and from the suburbs for job opportunity.
“What’s unique about Hudson County is the 18-34 year olds that get out of their parents’ house in suburban places like Hunterdon and Morris County and go to Hudson County; they can afford to do that,” Hughes said. “So you’re sort of cream-skimming the more affluent.”
While buying a house is more expensive than ever, the rental stock in New Jersey suburbs is very low. This forces those who can afford it to come to Hudson County, raising the demand for housing. Cities, meanwhile, fail to build enough new housing to satisfy the demand, resulting in higher housing costs.
“The other force,” Hughes said, “is that even though it’s expensive in Hudson County, it’s nowhere near as expensive as Manhattan and Brooklyn, so you have young people from Manhattan and Brooklyn getting pushed out of that market due to the higher housing costs.”
“How can anyone even afford a home?” Katelyn Gedecki asked. “You need so much money. I don’t know that we can win this one. The future does not look good.”

Rory Pasquariello can be reached at at roryp@hudsonreporter.com

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