Study reveals exactly how far away from your parents and in-laws you should live

There’s a very narrow window of distance that lets parents, kids, and in-laws peacefully co-exist without dropping in on each other.

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The in-laws. Can’t hardly stand ’em, can’t stay married to your spouse without them. Or maybe they’re lovely people … from a distance. But how far should you stay away – er, live – from them (and your parents)?

The answer is a surprisingly specific 15-45 minute distance, according to 27% of the 2,000 American adults surveyed by financial services company Ally Home. That’s just far enough so that it makes it more difficult to “drop in” unannounced but makes getting together for planned family occasions easy.


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“Most [home] buyers tell me that they want to be about 20-30 minutes away from their family,” said Jamie Bingham, a realtor.

Over a third (37%) felt that family should not live close enough to just drop by unannounced, and Millennials disliked the idea of the drop-in at an even higher rate (42%).

More than half of respondents (57%) said there should be at least some driving distance between them and their parents or in-laws, and Gen Z (63%) and Millennials (62%) had even stronger boundaries about distance.

Parent trap!

For 38% of respondents, living within five minutes of parents or in-laws would be a source of major stress for them. This feeling cuts both ways: 64% of parents don’t want their adult kids living with them (that’s bad news for Millennials – 15% are still living in their parents’ home, according to Pew).

Other major family triggers were taking a road trip with parents or in-laws – without radio (52%), being forced to debate a father or father-in-law with opposing political views (40%), or cooking an elaborate meal for a mom or mom-in-law (31%).

See you at the next family function! Be sure to bring wine.


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Sheila McClear|is a reporter for Ladders and can be reached at smcclear@theladders.com.