You are here

Malcolm Harris

Content Written by Author

Tuesday, November 24, 2015 - 10:44am

If America is going to keep existing, then young people are going to have to form households. You can’t sleep on Twitter or take a shower on Instagram or raise a child on Facebook. At least not exclusively. A generation often characterized by its digital connections still has to gosomewhere. So how should a good millennial live?

There are three main options, though very few people have all of them. A third of 18-34 year olds live in households headed by a parent or other family member according to a Pew Research survey from July. A smaller portion, 14 percent, own their own home, many of whom received help from their parents with the down payment. For the plurality there’s renting, and paying half their income is normal, especially in high-cost cities where young adults are concentrated.

In the public imagination, all of these millennials are worth mocking. Whether they’re stuck in their parents’ basement watching YouTube, blowing all their money on a room the size of a closet just to play hipster and ruin some city, or living the homeowner’s dream on mommy and daddy’s largess, there’s a joke there. A smart, innovative young person should be able to come up with a shelter solution that’s affordable and sustainable. And, since young workers should be flexible, so should their housing. Why can’t this disruptive generation create a new paradigm?

Malcolm Harris is a freelance writer and an editor at The New Inquiry. He lives in Brooklyn.