Science found 4 categories of independence in young adults. Where do you belong?

More young people than ever are living with their families. But does that make them less independent?

For about four months last year, I needed to live with my family.

A month after I turned 26, my housing plans fell apart. Suddenly, I found myself living in Seattle with few resources and nowhere to go.


Couch-surfing might not seem so bad at first, but talk to me again after a week, mister. Photo from iStock.

I tried couch-surfing for about a month. I'd stay for a week at one friend's house, then for a few days at another.

But it soon became apparent that I needed a long-term solution. So I asked a nearby family member, my aunt, if I could stay with her.

Don't get me wrong — I love my family. But the whole experience kind of messed with my head.

What did living with my family say about me? I had recently earned a master's degree, and people kept calling me successful — but I didn't feel successful. Could I call myself an independent adult if I wasn't living on my own?

Also, where did this beanie and scarf come from? Photo from iStock.

That's how I fell into a rut of looking at independence as a "yes" or "no" thing.

I felt like living on my own was independent, and living with my family was not. But the truth is that it's not a yes or no thing at all.

In fact, a recent study showed that for most young people today, independence has become a lot more nuanced than it was in the past.

North Carolina State University sociology professor Anna Manzoni analyzed data about the lives of more than 14,000 Americans age 18-25.

She measured the idea of independence in a few different ways: by whether the subject had their own living space, by asking them to record their earnings and whether they got financial support from their parents, and by considering their own perceptions of independence and adulthood.

Most young people can be roughly split into four different, nearly evenly split groups of independence.

Only about 28% of the people she surveyed were classified as fully independent — people who lived by themselves, didn't receive support from their families, and personally felt independent.

On the other extreme, only 23% were more or less dependent. They lived with their parents, received financial support, and thought of themselves as dependent.

In between those two, however, were two more groups, making up about half of the population:

About 24% were a category I'll call free range. They live apart from family and have their own finances but still feel connected in an emotional way to their parent's home.

And another 25% were what I'd call housemates. They're financially independent, and thought of themselves as mostly independent, but lived with their parents.

What does this tell us? In real life, people's relationships with their families are a lot more nuanced than just "independent" or "dependent."

Everyone's situation is different, and independence today is definitely on a spectrum.

In many families, older siblings help raise younger ones. Photo from iStock.

Maybe a young person is staying at home while going to school so they can save money while living under mountains of student debt.

Or maybe that young person is one of the many folks who stay with their family in order to take care of an ailing loved one, to help raise younger siblings, or to help provide financially.

Or maybe they come from one of the many cultures around the world that encourage kids to stay with their families for years.

As today's millennials come into adulthood, their independence is likely to fall onto more of a spectrum than in years past.

This research could hopefully help inform future research and policies for the public, too.

"The fact that we have this diverse range of groups across the spectrum of independence, and that each of these groups is so well-represented in the population, means we need to stop thinking of independence as a binary concept: either dependent or independent," Manzoni said in a press release.

"It's more complicated than that. Our research and policies — on everything from education to housing — need to reflect these nuances, because they are important."

Today, I have my own place again. But now I'll think differently about what it means to be independent.

Like so many things in life, it comes down to what's best for each of us.

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Should a man lose his home because the grass in his yard grew higher than 10 inches? The city of Dunedin, Florida seems to think so.

According to the Institute of Justice, which is representing Jim Ficken, he had a very good reason for not mowing his lawn – and tried to rectify the situation as best he could.

In 2014, Jim's mom became ill and he visited her often in South Carolina to help her out. When he was away, his grass grew too long and he was cited by a code office; he cut the grass and wasn't fined.

France has started forcing supermarkets to donate food instead of throwing it away.

But several years later, this one infraction would come back to haunt him after he left to take care of him's mom's affairs after she died. The arrangements he made to have his grass cut fell through (his friend who he asked to help him out passed away unexpectedly) and that set off a chain reaction that may result in him losing his home.

The 69-year-old retiree now faces a $29,833.50 fine plus interest. Watch the video to find out just what Jim is having to deal with.

Mow Your Lawn or Lose Your House! www.youtube.com

Cities

The world officially loves Michelle Obama.

The former first lady has overtaken the number one spot in a poll of the world's most admired women. Conducted by online research firm YouGov, the study uses international polling tools to survey people in countries around the world about who they most admire.

In the men's category, Bill Gates took the top spot, followed by Barack Obama and Jackie Chan.

In the women's category, Michelle Obama came first, followed by Oprah Winfrey and Angelina Jolie. Obama pushed Jolie out of the number one spot she claimed last year.

Unsurprising, really, because what's not to love about Michelle Obama? She is smart, kind, funny, accomplished, a great dancer, a devoted wife and mother, and an all-around, genuinely good person.

She has remained dignified and strong in the face of rabid masses of so-called Americans who spent eight years and beyond insisting that she's a man disguised as a woman. She's endured non-stop racist memes and terrifying threats to her family. She has received far more than her fair share of cruelty, and always takes the high road. She's the one who coined, "When they go low, we go high," after all.

She came from humble beginnings and remains down to earth despite becoming a familiar face around the world. She's not much older than me, but I still want to be like Michelle Obama when I grow up.

Her memoir, Becoming, may end up being the best-selling memoir of all time, having already sold 10 million copies—a clear sign that people can't get enough Michelle, because there's no such thing as too much Michelle.

Don't like Michelle Obama? Don't care. Those of us who love her will fly our MO flags high and without apology, paying no mind to folks with cold, dead hearts who don't know a gem of a human being when they see one. There is nothing any hater can say or do to make us admire this undeniably admirable woman any less.

When it seems like the world has lost its mind—which is how it feels most days these days—I'm just going to keep coming back to this study as evidence that hope for humanity is not lost.

Here. Enjoy some real-life Michelle on Jimmy Kimmel. (GAH. WHY IS SHE SO CUTE AND AWESOME. I can't even handle it.)

Michelle & Barack Obama are Boring Now www.youtube.com

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via EarthFix / Flickr

What will future generations never believe that we tolerated in 2019?

Dolphin and orca captivity, for sure. They'll probably shake their heads at how people died because they couldn't afford healthcare. And, they'll be completely mystified at the amount of food some people waste while others go starving.

According to Biological Diversity, "An estimated 40 percent of the food produced in the United States is wasted every year, costing households, businesses and farms about $218 billion annually."

There are so many things wrong with this.

First of all it's a waste of money for the households who throw out good food. Second, it's a waste of all of the resources that went into growing the food, including the animals who gave their lives for the meal. Third, there's something very wrong with throwing out food when one in eight Americans struggle with hunger.

Supermarkets are just as guilty of this unnecessary waste as consumers. About 10% of all food waste are supermarket products thrown out before they've reached their expiration date.

Three years ago, France took big steps to combat food waste by making a law that bans grocery stores from throwing away edible food.According to the new ordinance, stores can be fined for up to $4,500 for each infraction.

Previously, the French threw out 7.1 million tons of food. Sixty-seven percent of which was tossed by consumers, 15% by restaurants, and 11% by grocery stores.

This has created a network of over 5,000 charities that accept the food from supermarkets and donate them to charity. The law also struck down agreements between supermarkets and manufacturers that prohibited the stores from donating food to charities.

"There was one food manufacturer that was not authorized to donate the sandwiches it made for a particular supermarket brand. But now, we get 30,000 sandwiches a month from them — sandwiches that used to be thrown away," Jacques Bailet, head of the French network of food banks known as Banques Alimentaires, told NPR.

It's expected that similar laws may spread through Europe, but people are a lot less confident at it happening in the United States. The USDA believes that the biggest barrier to such a program would be cost to the charities and or supermarkets.

"The logistics of getting safe, wholesome, edible food from anywhere to people that can use it is really difficult," the organization said according to Gizmodo. "If you're having to set up a really expensive system to recover marginal amounts of food, that's not good for anybody."

Plus, the idea may seem a little too "socialist" for the average American's appetite.

"The French version is quite socialist, but I would say in a great way because you're providing a way where they [supermarkets] have to do the beneficial things not only for the environment, but from an ethical standpoint of getting healthy food to those who need it and minimizing some of the harmful greenhouse gas emissions that come when food ends up in a landfill," Jonathan Bloom, the author of American Wasteland, told NPR.

However, just because something may be socialist doesn't mean it's wrong. The greater wrong is the insane waste of money, damage to the environment, and devastation caused by hunger that can easily be avoided.

Planet

The world is dark and full of terrors, but every once in a while it graces us with something to warm our icy-cold hearts. And that is what we have today, with a single dad who went viral on Twitter after his daughter posted the photos he sent her when trying to pick out and outfit for his date. You love to see it.




After seeing these heartwarming pics, people on Twitter started suggesting this adorable man date their moms. It was essentially a mom and date matchmaking frenzy.

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