Millennials Moving Back Home

Rear view of teenage girl carrying cardboard box in front of new house. Horizontal shot.

You send them away to college, teary-eyed, watched them claim their degree, and then guess what? They come back and move into their old bedrooms. For the first time on record, living with parents is now the most common arrangement for people ages 18 to 34, according to an analysis of Census data by the Pew Research Center. The proportion of older millennials, ages 25 to 34, who are living at home has reached its highest point on record – at 19 percent (Pew data). Nearly one-third of all millennials live with their parents which is slightly more than the proportion who live with a spouse or partner. Since record-keeping began in 1880, this is the first time that living at home has outpaced living with a spouse for this age group. The remaining young adults are living alone, with other relatives, in college dorms, as roommates or under other circumstances. In 2000, 23 percent of young adults were living with parents. In 2014 the figure jumped to 32.1 percent.

Numerous possibilities are the causes of the sharp shift towards living with parents. One cause is the decline in marriage which was aided by the Great Recession and its economic upheaval. For those who lack a college degree this trend is especially true. Typically, today’s woman in the U.S. marries at 27.1 years of age; a typical man at 29.2 years – this according to Census data. In 1956, the marriage ages were 20.1 for women and 22.5 for men. The greater number of singles is representative of those likely to live with their parents as they are concentrating more on school and future careers rather than on forming new families, spouses, partners and/or children. Among other things such as reduced consumer spending on appliances and furniture, the shift to living with parents is disrupting the housing market, an outcome of which is reflected by higher prices of available houses, making it even more difficult to leave their parents.

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