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Could The Baby Boomer’s Spare Room Solve Millennials’ Housing Problem?

There was a time where young Americans would dream of owning a home by their thirtieth birthday, but, at this point, millennials would just be happy to find some affordable housing. As the share of U.S. income spent on housing continues to rise, young people still have no real solution to their struggle to find reasonable rent. But one company believes it may have found the answer.

Real estate site Trulia used the U.S. census data to estimate the number of vacant bedrooms in households occupied by anyone born before 1964, which is widely accepted as the end of the Baby Boomers. To do so, Trulia identified the total number of Baby Boomer bedrooms then subtracted the number of inhabitants. To be safe, the survey even subtracted one additional bedroom to account for home offices and other alternative uses. Trulia found there are an astounding 3.6 million vacant bedrooms in the 100 largest U.S. metro areas, with an average of 4.2 bedrooms per household and only 2.6 household members.

Trulia concludes that these extra bedrooms can solve the millennial struggle to afford decent housing, but millennials are already heading back home at a historic pace. For the first time since the late nineteenth century, young adults are living with the parents more than any other arrangement, including spouses and romantic partners. Slightly more than 32 percent of 18- to 34-year-olds are living with their parents, a large increase from the 20 percent of young adults living with their parents in 1960.

There are a number of reasons this has developed, but one factor may be the relationship between Baby Boomers and their kids. Historically, generations have always clashed, but Boomers were unusually attentive parents. And, in a way, it seems to be paying off, as their kids actually like them and are willing to live with them when times are tough.

Yet even with this mass domestic migration, there are still a huge number of empty bedrooms in Baby Boomer houses. So until the American Dream finds its way back into our reality, Baby Boomers better stock up on Pop-Tarts and get ready to play host for the foreseeable future.