Shame, misery, and your mother's incessant nagging used to be associated with moving back in with your parents after college or being out on your own for awhile. Nowadays, thanks to a weak job market that forced many young Americans to return to the nest, that stigma is fading (though the same probably can't be said for your mom's nagging).
According to a new Pew Research Center study, more than 75 percent of young adults who moved back home during the Great Recession and its aftermath—the so-called boomerang generation—say they're OK living at home with their folks and are optimistic about their future financial prospects.
One reason young adults might feel less lame about living with their parents is because doubling up—living with friends or relatives—has become such a widespread phenomenon in tough economic times.
According to the study, the share of Americans living in multi-generational family households is the highest it has been since the 1950s, having increased significantly over the past five years. In 2010, almost 22 percent of young adults lived in a multi-generational household (the vast majority were living with their parents) up from just about 16 percent in 2000.
A whopping 61 percent of young adults say they have friends or family that have moved back in with parents over the past few years due to financial difficulties.
But while living at home might mean sharing your finances—and personal space—with your parents, the arrangement doesn't mean dependency or permanence, experts say.
"Young people who are living with parents and are not in the housing market themselves are building up financial security to help them move in to the housing market," says Jed Kolko, chief economist at real estate website Trulia. "By living with parents and paying less or no rent, they're able to save. It puts them in a better position when they decide to either become renters or homeowners."
That's good news for the housing market because historically the 25 to 34 age group has been a deep well of housing demand, something that's been conspicuously absent in the housing market for the past few years.
But even as the job market begins to turn around, it will take some time to get the boomerang generation into their own homes and apartments.
"It takes some time to be confident enough about your own financial security before you would leave home," Kolko says. "You don't leave home the day after you get your job. You want to make sure that job is going to stick around for awhile."
Translation? Don't hold your breath for a move-out date, Mom and Dad.