Why Young Women Are Living Like It’s 1940

Photo (cc) by Alexandra Zakharova

A higher percentage of young women were living with family last year than in any other year on record.

That’s according to a new analysis of U.S. Census Bureau data by the Pew Research Center. The nonprofit organization, which describes itself as a “fact tank,” found that 36.4 percent of women ages 18 to 34 lived with their parents or other relatives in 2014.

That statistic hasn’t been that high since 1940, the first year for which information on living arrangements is available, when 36.2 percent of women in that age bracket lived with family.

Richard Fry, a senior researcher at Pew Research Center, writes of the numbers:

The result is a striking U-shaped curve for young women — and young men — indicating a return to the past, statistically speaking.

Fry cites two explanations for why so many millennial women are living with family:

  • College: Today’s young women are more likely to go to college. As late as 1960, 5 percent of 18- to 34-year-old women were college students. As of 2014, 27 percent of young women were college students. Additionally, Pew Research Center found that college students, including part-time and community-college students, are more likely to live with family (45 percent, compared with 33 percent of young women who aren’t in college).
  • Delayed marriage: Today’s young women are more likely to marry later in life. In 1940, the typical woman entered her first marriage at age 21.5, whereas last year, it was age 27.

For millennial men, the U-shaped trend is similar. As of last year, 42.8 percent of 18- to 34-year-old men were living with family.

Men, however, have yet to break the record they set in 1940, when 47.5 percent of young men lived with family. That year remains the time during which a greater share of young men lived with family than any other year on record.

If you are housing so-called boomerang children of your own, check out “Still Supporting Your Adult Kids? 5 Steps to Set Them Free.”

What do you see as the biggest reason so many young adults are now living with family? Share your thoughts below or on Facebook.

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