Millennials in the McAllen, TX, metro area are sticking close to home — in more ways than one. Not only are thousands of McAllen millennials remaining in or returning to the region, but they’re also living with one or both of their parents.

A LawnStarter analysis of 2015 data from the U.S. Census Bureau shows more than half of the millennials (52 percent) in the McAllen area are living with Mom and Dad. That’s the highest percentage of living-with-their-parents millennials among the country’s 100 most populous metro areas. Nationally last year, 34 percent of millennials — classified as 18 to 34 years old — lived in their parents’ home.

Why are so many McAllen millennials staying in or going back to the nest? There’s no single answer.

family

The family unit is a cornerstone of the Hispanic community.
Photo: Flickr/Moodboard

‘Being With Your Family’

One reason is that the traditionally strong family bonds among the region’s Hispanic-dominated population, many of whom are Mexican-American, keep many millennials from taking off. The McAllen area sits in the Rio Grande Valley of Texas, along the U.S.-Mexico border.

“Most Mexican kids don’t leave home until they’re married, if they have a good job or not. It’s just being with your family,” Misty Miller told NPR in 2014. At the time, she was a student at what now is University of Texas Rio Grande Valley, just north of McAllen.

unemployment office

The unemployment rate among millennials in the McAllen, TX, area is high.
Photo: Flickr/Burt Lum

Jobless in McAllen

Another reason for the not-leaving-the-nest scenario: The unemployment rate for millennials in the McAllen area is higher than the national average.

In 2015, an estimated 29.8 percent of 16- to 19-year-olds in the McAllen metro were unemployed, compared with the statewide rate of 18.1 percent and the U.S. rate of 19.7 percent, according to Census Bureau estimates. At the other end of the millennial age scale, 8.1 percent of 30- to 34-year-olds in the McAllen area were jobless in 2015, compared with 5.4 percent statewide and 6 percent nationally.

Lower Degree of Education

The joblessness is linked to the area’s pronounced education gap.

Salvador Contreras, a professor of economics and finance at the University of Texas Rio Grande Valley, says the millennials-at-home phenomenon in the McAllen area partly reflects the lack of opportunities for young people who lack college degrees. Last year, just 19.1 percent of the 25- to 34-year-olds in the region held at least a bachelor’s degree, compared with 29.4 percent statewide and 34.1 percent nationally, according to the Census Bureau.

college graduates

In the McAllen area, fewer people have college degrees than their Texas counterparts do.

“This means that if you are a young person trying to make it on your own in the Rio Grande Valley and without a college degree, chances are that your income will not suffice to pay rent once you satisfy other needs,” Contreras says.

For many, college degrees no longer carry the same career and wage weight that they once did, he says, so a lot of millennials are seeking safe haven with their parents.

“The family is an insurance instrument that guarantees at minimum a hot meal, a roof and emotional support, especially when [a millennial is] faced with an unlucky start,” Contreras says. “This gives young people more time to develop their marketability through job training, schooling and maturity.”

As with any region, of course, one factor may have more of an impact than another in determining whether millennials live with their parents. Whatever the reasons, here are the 12 Metro Areas With the Most Millennials Living With Mom and Dad. Our ranking is based on Census Bureau data collected through the agency’s 2015 American Community Survey.

1. McAllen, TX

McAllen IMAS

Photo: Google+/International Museum of Art & Science

Number of millennials: 198,568
Number of millennials living with parents: 102,821
Percentage of millennials living with parents: 51.78%

2. Oxnard-Thousand Oaks-Ventura, CA

Oxnard CA

Photo: Oxnard Visitors Bureau

Number of millennials: 188,979
Number of millennials living with parents: 86,563
Percentage of millennials living with parents: 45.81%

3. El Paso, TX

El Paso skyline

Photo: Flickr/Visit El Paso

Number of millennials: 208,908
Number of millennials living with parents: 95,163
Percentage of millennials living with parents: 45.55%

4. Bridgeport-Stamford-Norwalk, CT

Stamford CT

Photo: Greenwich Honda

Number of millennials: 186,277
Number of millennials living with parents: 84,280
Percentage of millennials living with parents: 45.24%

5. Miami-Fort Lauderdale, FL

Miami FL

Photo: Flickr/Philipp Meier

Number of millennials: 1,281,991
Number of millennials living with parents: 574,877
Percentage of millennials living with parents: 44.84%

6. Riverside-San Bernardino, CA

Riverside CA citrus museum

Photo: Flickr/Don Graham

Number of millennials: 1,070,424
Number of millennials living with parents: 476,372
Percentage of millennials living with parents: 44.50%

7. New York, NY

New York City

Photo: Flickr/Kolitha de Silva

Number of millennials: 4,616,264
Number of millennials living with parents: 2,023,231
Percentage of millennials living with parents: 43.83%

8. North Port-Sarasota-Bradenton, FL

Sarasota FL

Photo: Ringling College of Art and Design

Number of millennials: 117,452
Number of millennials living with parents: 49,891
Percentage of millennials living with parents: 42.48%

9. Stockton, CA

Stockton CA

Photo: Flickr/Jason Jenkins

Number of millennials: 166,015
Number of millennials living with parents: 70,404
Percentage of millennials living with parents: 42.41%

10. New Haven, CT

Yale

Photo: Yale Model United Nations

Number of millennials: 183,081
Number of millennials living with parents: 76,948
Percentage of millennials living with parents: 42.03%

11. Scranton/Wilkes-Barre, PA

Scranton PA

Photo: Art of Adventuring/Michael Tieso

Number of millennials: 107,372
Number of millennials living with parents: 44,787
Percentage of millennials living with parents: 41.71%

12. Los Angeles, CA

Los Angeles skyline

Photo: SAE Institute Los Angeles

Number of millennials: 3,290,475
Number of millennials living with parents: 1,365,787
Percentage of millennials living with parents: 41.51%

Top photo: Flickr/Seth Sawyers

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