When Mary Finnegan, 27, and her sister Meg, 22, left their Brooklyn apartment to return to their parents’ home in March, they took enough clothes to last two weeks.
Their stay stretched into months. “It was like a return to homeschooling: no boys, no play dates, nowhere to go, except home and the liquor store,” Mary told the Financial Times.
As the coronavirus pandemic worsened and universities closed, Mary and Meg were followed by three other siblings, turning the parental four-bedroom house in Washington, New Jersey, into a “food hall, a bakery and a gym”, according to their mother Lori.
The Finnegans are among the millions of young adults around the world who have moved back in with their parents since Covid-19 struck. In the US, the share of 18- to 29-year-olds living at home is the highest ever recorded.
While they are less at risk of developing severe forms of Covid-19, students and young workers are suffering from the pandemic’s economic fallout more harshly than other groups, data show. The pandemic has also amplified previous trends including low wages, stagnant job markets and rising student debt.
A global survey by the Financial Times, to which more than 800 16- to 30-year-olds responded, shows that these difficulties are translating into growing resentment towards older generations, which are both better off and holding greater political sway.
“We are not in this together, millennials have to take the brunt of the sacrifice in the situation,” said Polina R, 30, from Montreal, Canada. “If you won’t watch out that we don’t end up jobless and poorer, why should we protect you?”
Here is what they told the FT about their experiences during the pandemic: