Why Young Americans Are Now More Likely to Live With Their Parents

By Published on June 2, 2016

For the first time in over 130 years, more young adults lived with their parents than any other living situation.

According to the analysis by the Pew Research Center, 32.6 percent of adults ages 18 to 34 lived with their parents; 31.6 lived with a spouse or romantic partner; 14 percent lived without other adults (either on their own or as a head of household); and the remaining 22 percent lived in “other living arrangements” such as with a friend or relative.

Living at home is even more common for young men than women: 35 percent of young men live with their parents, compared to 29 percent of young women.

Education and ethnicity also play a role, with lower-educated, black, and Hispanic adults more likely to live at home. When isolated by demographics, certain groups are not more likely to live with their parents. Women, whites; Asians/Pacific Islanders; and individuals with a bachelor’s degree or more are more likely to live with a spouse or partner than at home with their parents.

Why are so many young adults living at home?

The Great Recession certainly made it harder for many young adults to buy or rent their own home and thus contributed to the rise in young adults living at home, but the trend started well before the Great Recession.

In 2007, before the recession began, 28 percent of young adults were living at home, compared to only 20 percent in 1960.

Even more pronounced than the rise in young adults living at home is the drop in those married or cohabiting. Since 1960, the percent of young adults married or cohabiting in their own home dropped in half, from 62 percent to 31.6 percent.

As the study suggests, lower earnings growth and higher unemployment among young men could be causing men to postpone moving out — whether living on their own, with a spouse, or friends. Women’s increased labor force participation has likely also contributed to young adults postponing marriage. And the cycle could be contagious — the more young adults who live at home, the more socially acceptable it becomes.

The rise in young adults living at home can be good or bad. For some young adults, living at home for a few months or years improves their financial future, allowing them to save money to buy a home of their own. But for others, the financial ease of living at home can encourage unsustainable spending habits that make it harder to become independent.


Copyright 2016 The Daily Signal

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