The Pew Research Center’s analysis of census data found that, for the first time in 130 years, 18- to 34-year-olds are most likely to be living with their parents.
The center’s analysis found that, as of 2014, 32.1 percent of young adults lived with one or both parents, 31.6 percent were married or cohabiting, 14 percent lived alone and 22 percent had some other living arrangement. This doesn’t mean, however, that the number of young adults living at home is at a record high. That rate peaked at 35 percent around 1940.
Adult living arrangements vary considerably based on educational attainment, gender, race and ethnicity. Only 19 percent of young adults with a college degree lived at home compared to 36 percent without. Thirty-six percent of black and Hispanic young adults lived at home in 2014 compared with 30 percent of white young adults. Thirty-five percent of young men lived at home, compared to 29 percent of young women.
The culprits of this demographic change are shifting attitudes toward marriage, fallout from the Great Recession and long-term employment and wage trends.
The median age of first marriage has been on the rise for decades. Pew Research suggested that as many as one in four young adults today won’t marry. People are less likely than ever to settle down before age 35. A greater number of young adults are instead finding stable living arrangements with extended family.
The Great Recession increased college enrollment, but it also increased the number of young adults living at home. Doing so offered a safety net from economic hardship. A weak job market at graduation and high unemployment rates, combined with a steady decline in median wage since the mid-20th century, have only added to the total. Expect this trend to continue unless the market or perceptions of marriage change.