- A millennial, 30-year-old Mike Rotondo, was recently ordered by a judge to vacate his parents’ home.
- But Jeffrey Arnett, a psychologist who studies millennials, says this story is hardly indicative of this generation’s “failure to launch” as a whole.
- Still, Rotondo’s situation does indicate how hard it can be for young men without a college degree to find employment.
A story about Mike Rotondo, a 30-year-old man whose parents are trying to evict their son from their home, is making headlines.
Business Insider’s Matthew Michaels reported that Rotondo has lived with his parents in Camillus, New York, for the past eight years, and that State Supreme Court Justice Donald Greenwood has ordered Rotondo to vacate his parents’ house.
Rotondo told Michaels that he recently lost visitation custody of his child. He added that he hasn’t been financially able to move out of his parents’ home because he’s been focusing on his child, which has prevented him from finding work. He also told Michaels that he doesn’t have a college degree.
It’s easy to roll your eyes at this situation, and to see it as just one more indicator of millennials’ “failure to launch.” Indeed, a Pew Research Center survey found that 15% of 25- to 35-year-olds were living in their parents’ home in 2016. Compare that to just 8% of Early Boomers in 1981.
But Jeffrey Arnett – a research professor of psychology at Clark University who studies “emerging adulthood,” the period from the late teens to the mid-twenties – isn’t buying all the claims that millennials are lazy, entitled, or immature.
Few millennials actually face resistance from their parents if they want to move home for a while
“This ‘failure to launch’ idea is the opposite of the truth,” Arnett said. “They are launching just fine.” They’re just taking slightly longer to do so than 50 years ago, which is largely attributable to the fact that people are marrying much later.
Arnett pointed to a survey he published in 2012 that found 74% of emerging adults say they would prefer to live independently of their parents – even if it means living on a tight budget. Typically, he said, when they move home, it’s during a transitional period, such as after a relationship ends or when they’re going back to school.
Rotondo himself told Michaels that he doesn’t like living with his parents, and he’s only fought their eviction in order to get more time to vacate.
And as for the stereotype about all those Boomer parents trying to kick their bratty millennials out of the house? Arnett has also found that, of parents who have an emerging adult child living with them, 61% describe their feelings as “mostly positive.” Only 6% describe the experience as “mostly negative.”
To be sure, Rotondo’s story does reflect some bitter truths about being a young man without a college degree in the US today. As Chicago Business reported, young men were once able to find blue-collar, manufacturing jobs – but those jobs are quickly disappearing, and often require a certificate or an associate’s degree.
It’s worth noting, too, that Rotondo is part of a growing number of millennials having children out of wedlock. Typically, these millennials don’t have a college degree or great job prospects, the Atlantic reported.
Still, it’s worth taking a step back before labelling Rotondo the face of a delinquent demographic group.
“I would advise everyone to chill out about this,” Arnett said. “Resist the urge to smear a whole generation.”
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