Many parents say they are still financially subsidizing their adult children

Jan 25, 2024, 12:32 PM

Most parents expect to pay for their children until they become adults. But many say they are still...

Most parents expect to pay for their children until they become adults. But many say they are still financially subsidizing their now-adult children, sometimes well into their late 20s and early 30s, according to a new report from the Pew Research Center. Mandatory Credit: MoMo Productions/Stone RF/Getty Images

New York (CNN) — Most parents expect to pay for their children until they become adults. But many say they are still financially subsidizing their now-adult children, sometimes well into their late 20s and early 30s, according to a new report from the Pew Research Center.

Never mind that today’s young adults are more likely to have college degrees and earn more money on an inflation-adjusted basis than their parents did 30 years ago, according to Pew.

“Young adults are reaching some key milestones such as marriage and parenthood later in life, even as they exceed their parents’ generation when it comes to educational attainment, employment and wages,” Pew researchers wrote in their analysis.

At the same time, adult kids are also more likely to have student loan debt, and more of it than their parents did at their age. In 1992, the median student debt adjusted for inflation was roughly $6,000 to $7,000 among young adults, according to Pew. But in 2022, adults between 25 and 29 owed a median of $16,000 and those ages 30 to 34 owed $20,000.

The Pew report is based on two different surveys conducted last fall. One is of a nationally representative sampling of parents in the United States with adult children between the ages of 18 and 34. And the second is of a nationally representative sampling of adults in that age range who have at least one living parent.

For some parents, there is no empty nest

Financial help comes in many forms. Providing food and shelter, either free or at a discount, is a big one.

Pew found that about a third of young adults between the ages of 18 and 34 are still living with a parent.

More than half (57%) of those in the 18-to-24 age group said they were doing so; as did 21% of those ages 25 to 29 and 11% of those between the ages of 30 and 34.

Among those who still haven’t left the nest, nearly three-quarters (72%) said they contribute financially to the household in at least one way, with 65% saying they help pay for things like groceries or utility bills, and 46% saying they help pay the rent or mortgage. No indication was given as to how much they actually contribute.

When it comes to who are most likely to live with their parents among racial and ethnic groups, Pew researchers said there aren’t statistically significant differences for those in the 18-to-24 age range. But for those 25 or older, Hispanic and Black young adults are more likely to live with their parents than Whites and Asians.

Perhaps unsurprisingly, most young adults still at home (64%) said doing so had a positive impact on their personal financial situation.

And, generally speaking, most parents are not unhappy with the arrangement. A full 45% say the living arrangement has been positive for their relationship with their child; while 29% say it’s been somewhat positive.

Expenses that parents help their adult kids pay

A full 59% of parents said they financially helped an adult child in the past year, while 44% of adult children said they had received financial help from a parent in the same period.

Of those 44% of young adults, the majority (68%) were 18-to-24-years old. But 30% of adults between 30 and 34 also said they got a financial assist from a parent.

The money for all age groups combined was most commonly used to help pay for household expenses (28%), and cellphone bills and streaming service subscriptions (25%). Less common was help with rent (17%), medical expenses (15%) and education (11%).

Impact on parental finances

Helping an adult child financially may make a parent feel good about their relationship. But when it comes to the bottom-line impact on their own finances, the survey findings are mixed.

Among parents with an adult child still living at home, only 18% said it had a negative impact; 27% said it had a positive impact; and roughly 55% said the impact was neither positive nor negative.

But among parents who said they helped their adult children financially in the past year, 36% said it hurt their finances “at least some,” especially among parents with lower incomes.

Sometimes, it’s the young adults helping their folks

It is less common, but 33% of young adults surveyed said they helped their parents financially in the past year, while 14% of parents said they got help from their kids in that time period.

“Young adults with lower incomes (43%) are more likely than those with middle (28%) or upper incomes (19%) to say they helped their parents financially. Similarly, parents with lower incomes are the most likely to say they received financial help from their young adult children (29%), compared with 9% of those with middle incomes and 2% of parents with upper incomes,” according to the Pew report.

The reasons cited by parents for the help they received was a special circumstance (38%), recurring expenses (31%) or both (30%).

The-CNN-Wire™ & © 2024 Cable News Network, Inc., a Warner Bros. Discovery Company. All rights reserved.

KSL 5 TV Live

National News

Protesters gathered outside the Alabama State House in Montgomery in the wake of the IVF ruling on ...

Devon M. Sayers, Shirin Faqiri and Eric Levenson, CNN

Alabama House and Senate approve bills aimed at protecting in vitro fertilization after personhood ruling

The Alabama House and Senate each passed bills Thursday aimed at protecting in vitro fertilization treatments .

2 hours ago

FILE: Vivint Doorbell Camera (Photo by Ethan Miller/Getty Images)...

Haleluya Hadero, AP Business Writer

Some doorbell cameras sold on Amazon and other online sites have major security flaws, report says

Consumer Reports says some doorbell cameras sold by Amazon and other online retailers have security flaws that could allow bad actors to view footage from the devices or control them completely.

3 hours ago

Oprah Winfrey...

Jordan Valinsky, CNN

Oprah is leaving WeightWatchers, sending stock tumbling

Oprah Winfrey is leaving the board of WeightWatchers, ending a nearly decade-long stint as a director of the beleaguered company that has faced sudden competition from Ozempic.

3 hours ago

At least 104 people were killed, and at least 760 were injured, in a chaotic incident where Israel ...

Rob Picheta, Abeer Salman, Jeremy Diamond and Khader Al Za’anoun CNN

Carnage at Gaza food aid site amid Israeli gunfire. Here’s what we know

One of the worst single tragedies to occur during Israel’s war with Hamas took place Thursday, when scores of Palestinians were killed trying to access food aid in Gaza City.

4 hours ago

Charred vehicles sit at an auto body shop after the property was burned by the Smokehouse Creek Fir...

SEAN MURPHY and JIM VERTUNO Associated Press

A wildfire scorching the Texas Panhandle has grown to the largest in state history

A wildfire spreading across the Texas Panhandle became the largest in state history Thursday.

7 hours ago

FILE - A vehicle charges at a Tesla Supercharger station in Detroit, Nov. 16, 2022. Owners of Ford ...

Associated Press

Ford electric vehicle owners can now charge on Tesla’s network, but they’ll need an adapter first

Owners of Ford electric vehicles can now use much of Tesla’s charging network in the U.S. and Canada, but there’s a hitch.

11 hours ago

Sponsored Articles

Modern chandelier hanging from a white slanted ceiling with windows in the backgruond...

Lighting Design

Light Up Your Home With These Top Lighting Trends for 2024

Check out the latest lighting design trends for 2024 and tips on how you can incorporate them into your home.

Technician woman fixing hardware of desktop computer. Close up....

PC Laptops

Tips for Hassle-Free Computer Repairs

Experiencing a glitch in your computer can be frustrating, but with these tips you can have your computer repaired without the stress.

Close up of finger on keyboard button with number 11 logo...

PC Laptops

7 Reasons Why You Should Upgrade Your Laptop to Windows 11

Explore the benefits of upgrading to Windows 11 for a smoother, more secure, and feature-packed computing experience.

Stylish room interior with beautiful Christmas tree and decorative fireplace...

Lighting Design

Create a Festive Home with Our Easy-to-Follow Holiday Prep Guide

Get ready for festive celebrations! Discover expert tips to prepare your home for the holidays, creating a warm and welcoming atmosphere for unforgettable moments.

Battery low message on mobile device screen. Internet and technology concept...

PC Laptops

9 Tips to Get More Power Out of Your Laptop Battery

Get more power out of your laptop battery and help it last longer by implementing some of these tips from our guide.

Users display warnings about the use of artificial intelligence (AI), access to malicious software ...

Les Olson

How to Stay Safe from Cybersecurity Threats

Read our tips for reading for how to respond to rising cybersecurity threats in 2023 and beyond to keep yourself and your company safe.

Many parents say they are still financially subsidizing their adult children