Majority of US adults under 30 now living with parents, study finds
The number of young adults living with their parents hit a high of at least eight decades in July as the job disruption from the pandemic hit young generations particularly hard.
More than half of adults under 30 (52%) or 26.6 million live with one or both parents as of July, according to a study of the census data from the Pew Research Center. That is a 47% increase in February and is above the previous high of 48% in 1940, according to the census.
It's also the highest recorded level from the 1900 census, but no data is available on the Great Depression, which Pew said was likely worse.
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The increase is part of an upward trend since the 1960s, but the coronavirus skewed that trajectory after states put standstills and companies laid off workers or switched to remote work. But it could take a while for the effects to wear off.
"For the most part, no one wants to live at home with mom and dad," said Jeremy Sopko, CEO of Nations Lending Corporation, a mortgage lender. "It's a difficult situation, made worse by the pandemic, and it may take years, if not most of a decade, for younger populations to recover and be financially stable enough to leave home."
According to a study by the Pew Research Center, more than half of adults under the age of 30 (52%) or 26.6 million have lived with one or both parents as of July. (Photo: Getty Creative)
"A number of factors working against younger demographics"
The growth was strongest among those aged 18-24, rising from 63% in February at home to 71% in July. The number of households with 18- to 19-year-olds fell by 1.9 million or 12% between February and July 2020.
In particular, the change is not due to the closure of universities in the spring. In the census data, unmarried students already living in student dormitories are considered to be living in the family home.
However, according to Pew, the rapid rise in unemployment correlates with the rise in young people living at home. The percentage of 16- to 24-year-olds who are neither in school nor employed has more than doubled to 28% in June compared with February when it was 11%.
According to the Pew Research Center, the majority of young adults under 30 were living at home with their parents in July. (Photo credit: Pew Research Center)
"Unfortunately, at the moment there are a number of factors that work against the younger population structure in this country," said Sopko. "You have to consider two big factors: massive debt on student loans and a lack of available work, particularly in the service fields, hospitality and the travel sector."
Likewise, 18-24 year olds had the highest unemployment rates in July than any other age group. For 18 to 19 year olds, the rate was 19.8%, following an increase to 34.3% in April. According to the Bureau of Labor Statistics, it was slightly lower for 20.3- to 24-year-olds in July, at 18.3%, after rising to 25.7% in April.
"Large Increase in Non-Hispanic White Young Adults"
However, unemployment explains only part of the increase in home life.
"The relatively large increase in non-Hispanic white young adults living with parents compared to young adults of other races and ethnicities was unexpected," said Richard Fry, lead researcher on the study at the Pew Research Center. "Previous research by Pew shows that the pandemic-related job losses were less severe for whites."
In the past, white young adults were less likely to live with their parents than Asian, black, and Hispanic teenagers. But Pew found that the gap has narrowed since February, when white young adults moved home faster than their Asian, Black, and Hispanic counterparts. White Americans made up more than two-thirds of the rise.
According to the Pew Research Center, the increase in those living with their parents is greatest among those aged 18 to 24. (Photo credit: Pew Research Center)
Moving home may be more of a lifestyle choice during the pandemic than a financial necessity after a job loss for some young adults, said Brent Cohen, executive director of Generation Progress, a research and advocacy center for young people.
"For those who worked remotely, this was likely a short-term move so they weren't alone in their homes when social distancing measures were in place," Cohen said. "But what many expected to take two to four weeks has now been extended by almost six months."
While more young people lived with their parents in all regions, the south recorded the largest jump from February to July. The living conditions of young adults changed similarly in rural and urban areas.
"This underscores the huge geographic scope of the pandemic," Fry said.
As the virus spreads and communities work to contain it by restricting many activities, the pace of recovery in the U.S. labor market remains uncertain, Fry said.
"It's hard to know if living with your parents has peaked," he said.
Dhara is a reporter for Yahoo Money and Cashay. Follow her on Twitter at @Dsinghx.
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