If you ask a young adult whom they live with, there’s a good chance they’ll tell you they’re at home with their parents. For the first time since the U.S. Census began keeping records of living arrangements in 1880, living at home with mom and dad has surpassed all other living arrangements for 18- to 34-year-olds.
According to a new report from the Pew Research Center, nearly 1 in 3 millennials (32.1 percent) live at home with mom and dad, slightly higher than the 31.6 percent of young adults who live with a spouse or other romantic partner. The remaining millennials live alone, in college dorms or with roommates or other relatives.
Experts say this shift in living arrangements not only conveys the changing life priorities of young Americans, but it’s also reflective of the decline in marriage.
“They’re concentrating more on school, careers and work and less focused on forming new families, spouses or partners and children,” said Richard Fry, lead author of the report and a senior economist at Pew. “We’ve simply got a lot more singles. They’re the group much more likely to live with their parents.”
In 1960, the share of young adults living with a spouse or significant other peaked at 62 percent while the percentage of young adults living with their parents bottomed out at 20 percent. Then the numbers began to shift. By 2000, just 43 percent of 18- to 34-year-olds were living with a romantic partner.
The share of young adults living with their parents peaked around 1940, during the Great Depression, when about 35 percent of 18- to 34-year-olds lived at home with mom and dad.
According to Pew, while millennial men are more likely to live at home with their parents (35 percent) than with a significant other (28 percent), the opposite is true of millennial women, with 29 percent of women living with mom and dad and 35 percent sharing a residence with a romantic partner.
Fry says the difference in living arrangements for men and women is due in part to changes in economic status for men and women. Employment for young men peaked in 1960 at 84 percent, then fell to 71 percent by 2014. Says Money:
That’s a stark contrast to young women, for whom economic prospects have improved in the last 50 years. Inflation-adjusted earnings for young men have also fallen substantially since 1970, leading more of them to live with parents rather than a spouse.
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