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How long is it okay to live with your parents after college?
One year? Two years? Five?
 
Whether mom will be this happy a few years after his move home is questionable.
Whether mom will be this happy a few years after his move home is questionable. Shutterstock

Earlier this month, a Pew Research study showed that more young adults are living at home than ever before. A full 36 percent of 18- to 31-year-olds (the group TIME affectionately dubbed the "me me me generation") lived at home in 2012 — a notable hike from the 32 percent in 2007.

The question is: How long is it okay for them to stick around?

Depends on if you're asking the millennials or their baby boomer parents, shows a new survey from Coldwell Banker Real Estate.

The younger generation say it's acceptable for adults to live with their parents for up to five years after college. Parents 55 and older think just three years is acceptable.

One reason young people may have looser standards about shacking up with their parents is that they were hit disproportionately by the recession. While the overall unemployment rate lowered slightly to 7.4 percent in July, the rate for 20- to 24-year-olds lingered at 12.6 percent. Naturally, a high share of those living at home are unemployed: 45 percent, instead of the 29 percent with jobs, says Pew. They're also shouldering much of the country's $1 trillion in outstanding student loan debt.

But despite millennials' economic troubles, a stigma remains. A full 70 percent of all those surveyed by Coldwell say too many adults living at home are avoiding responsibility, and 65 percent say too many are overstaying their welcome.

"The economy is a component in this, but it's also just taking longer developmentally for this generation to grow up and become adults," psychotherapist Robi Ludwig, who worked with Coldwell Banker on the survey, told The Fiscal Times. "Because emerging adults are living at home more frequently, there's been a mind shift and this is the new normal. It doesn't seem abnormal or like you're unsuccessful."

Indeed, parents living with adult children are dealing with their own set of stresses. Kirsten Grind in The Wall Street Journal:

Even parents who can afford to have their kids return home without significant financial strain should be worried about the consequences. When kids move back home with parents, it puts parents in the complicated position of wanting to support their children while trying to help them launch their own lives. The line between support and coddling can be blurry, experts say. [The Wall Street Journal]

The Coldwell survey concurs. Fifty-seven percent of Americans say that when children return home from college it prevents their parents from moving on with their own lives.

 
Carmel Lobello is the business editor at TheWeek.com. Previously, she was an editor at DeathandTaxesMag.com.

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