Saturday, August 23, 2008

Losers living at home: It's been my impression that there are a lot more losers these days still living at home with mom. You know--living in the basement. No job, but lots of video games. (Maybe I'm thinking about this because I recently saw Stepbrothers. Very funny by the way. Funnier than Tropic Thunder which was funny. But don't trust my taste--I'm a big Three Stooges fan.)

Well, the data don't back me up.

The General Social Survey has asked people about their living situation since the mid-70s. I calculated the percent of single men ages 25-40 who live with their parents by decade. Here are the results:


Percent of single men ages 25-40 living with parents

1970s 24.2
1980s 21.9
1990s 13.9
2000s 13.4

So, what is going on? My guess is that, compared to the 70s, many more single men are cohabiting with a girlfriend now. Guys who had a job but didn't earn enough for their own place now can head their own household with a female partner.

It might also be that a single man in the 25-40 age range was more likely in the 70s to be someone who lacked the ability to have a decent job and to get married. More single men now are capable but are not in a hurry to settle down. In other words, the average single guy these days has more going for him compared to a few decades ago.

10 comments:

Whiskey said...

Living in an apartment is not particularly conducive to getting married, as opposed to sex.

More likely, the # of women getting married is slightly declining, but the # of men getting married is declining quite a bit. Particularly as America ages.

IF women prefer men 6 years older or so, then as birth rates continuously decline, they'll still have their pick of men, but a number of men in that older generation will be left out.

What Hollywood is probably picking up on, is that many men can't afford to get married. Which they for dramatic purposes stage as living with parents.

Doing so among say, Chinese men into their mid or late twenties allows a build up of a nest egg for a home purchase, which makes a Chinese man more attractive to a Chinese woman than say, a man without a house. It's obvious wealth.

My guess is most men are not "settling down later" but are priced out the marriage market and use long-term substitutes: video games, porn, etc. This is probably worst in places like California, Florida, and other expensive real estate markets. Steve Sailer points out that cheap real estate = affordable family formation.

A guy who owns his own house is instantly more attractive than if he did not.

The state of Marriage stats out of Census Bureau is just awful. I've blogged about it here: link.

Demographers have seen this effect before, Ireland after the famine had marriage rates shoot up to say, first marriage in their late twenties / early thirties.

And ... we live in a different world now. The pill, the Condom, the acceptance of casual sex, abortion all allow women to lead lives of sexual freedom, particularly earning their own money. Many are choosing single motherhood as the White illegitimacy rate at 34% suggests.

Jason Malloy said...

In other words the rise of the "Child Man" is an insulting inversion of the truth.

Jim Kalb said...

If you add Whiskey's figures to RG's figures, it seems quite possible that there are more long-term bachelors today living with Mom than in the past. A smaller proportion of single men live that way, but there are many more long-term single men. And if you add in declining average household size then a greatly increasing proportion of multi-person households will follow the aging Mom/loser son pattern. Or so I speculate, although it would be nice to see figures.

Jim Bowery said...

I'd like to see an experiment conducted on primates that simulates the effect on mating that "liberal democratic" (ie: tyranny of the majority over-ruled by a laundry list of minority rights selectively enforced by an elite minority) governments have on humans.

Essentially, what you do is take some beta males and wire the environment so that all other males are subjected to the following reinforcement schedule:

If there is any conflict between a male and a female, and the male engages in any act of physical aggression, have some lab workers in monkey suits come in, throw him into a cage and sodomize him into submission -- then let him out.

Whiskey said...

Yes Jason, that was absolute BUNK. There is no "rise of the Child Man," rather, as suggested in NBC's "Chuck" there is the following factors involved (it's a great show for these reasons btw):

1. Declining relative income -- "Chuck" is screwed over by an "Alpha" male and framed for cheating at Stanford, kicked out and working at a "Buy More" aka Best Buy parody. He lives with his sister, instead of being a Stanford grad big shot.

2. He's low testosterone, high IQ, and loses out compared to the guys he loses out various women to in part because of his lower testosterone. [His sister is engaged to a high-testosterone WASP risk-taker, mountain biking, skydiving, etc.]

Jim -- I don't know what other primates would tell us because humans differ in two huge aspects: tool making specialization in ever increasing complexity, and culture including the written and spoken word, images. The latter having a huge and powerful effect on humans (as a unifying force beyond biological ties).

A more interesting example would be deep comparative studies between Japan (where Japanese women are largely opting out of having kids and getting married), China, the US, and Europe. Comparing say, testosterone levels in men, relative freedom economically and sexually for women, relative income between men and women, and "the grandmother effect," i.e. older female relatives who have sway over women considering possible suitors (who might lack in testosterone but could be better long-term mates).

I think Steve Sailer's observation (that minority rights and "racism" is used by high status elites to block lower status whites) mixed with Takuan Seiyo's post at brussellsjournal.com "Europe's first suicide" are responsible for the mess today. Loss of civilizational confidence caused by the morass of death and destruction in the First World War and cleaned up by the Second.

Anonymous said...

I met a guy once, made six figures
(back in the mid eighties), had
a porsche. Lived in his parents
basement. He also helped them
during a period of declining health
and presumably inherited the house.

I guess, not the classic loser story, but definitely seemed atypical.

Peter said...

It's not impossible that the widespread belief that adult men who live with their parents are losers has contributed to the decline in such arrangements. Some men who might otherwise be content with living in Mom and Dad's house will feel compelled to get places of their own, lest people - especially women they meet - think of them as losers.

Born Again Democrat said...

Lot more stoned-out hippies in 1970. Tuning in, turning on, and dropping out is no longer a meme among young people, thank God.

Born Again Democrat said...

Lot more stoned-out hippies in 1970. Tuning in, turning on, and dropping out is no longer a meme among young people, thank God.

Anonymous said...

"So, what is going on? My guess is that, compared to the 70s, many more single men are cohabiting with a girlfriend now. Guys who had a job but didn't earn enough for their own place now can head their own household with a female partner."

Don't you think the mid-20s guys who are shacking up with their girlfriends today would have been *marrying* them back in the 70s?

The data you show are pretty mysterious. I think Peter's explanation is the best on offer here:

"It's not impossible that the widespread belief that adult men who live with their parents are losers has contributed to the decline in such arrangements."

Yeah, a guy living with his parents in the 70s might have been considered a very sweet, dutiful son helping his elderly parents: not a Alpha (to use Roissy's terms), but a very good Beta and an excellent candidate Dad.

intellectual pariah