Unemployment, low wages make third of young Americans live with parents

© Reuters
The family nest is getting full again as nearly a third of millennials tend to go back to live with their parents rather than settle down on their own, a new study reveals. The year 2014 saw the trend peak nearly to record-breaking levels since World War II.

The Pew Research Center found that 32.1 percent of 18-to-34 year old Americans prefer living with their parents to sharing a place with a roommate or a romantic partner.

This is compared to 31.6 percent of young adults living in their own household with a spouse or a partner. Another 14 percent, most often single mothers, headed up a household in which they lived either alone or with a roommate. The remaining 22 percent of respondents shared a house with either family members, who were not their parents, or people who they were not related to at all, at college dormitories or prisons for example.

The trend, which has peaked for the second time since the 1940s, sees clear gender, racial and educational diversity. Of those living with parents, 35 percent were men, while women were as likely to be living with a spouse (35 percent), but less likely to live at their parents’ place (29 percent). Women also were ahead of men when it came to heading up a household – 16 percent versus 13 percent. However, men outnumbered women in cases where they were living with a third family member – 25 percent of males compared to 19 percent of females.

As far back as 1880, romantic coupling was the most common living arrangement for young adults. Sixty years on, this changed, and living with parents peaked around the 1940s, when about 35 percent of 18- to 34-year-old Americans lived at home with their mom and/or dad. So, 2014 failed to break the record but got quite close to it, becoming the second highest year since World War II.

At present, researches said many factors contribute to the statistics, including education, race, finances and employment.

For example, working men are less likely to be living with their parents. But here the trend is closely tied to another problem of employment and wages, which have changed to worse in recent decades. In the 1960s, 84 percent of young men had jobs, and in 2014 that number decreased to 71 percent. Wages have been going down since the 1970s and fell significantly from 2000 to 2010, which affected living arrangements among 18-to-34-year-old men. All those factors also affected women, who had difficulties getting married due to men experiencing labor issues and, hence, having to live at home.

Education, racial and ethnic backgrounds have also brought diversity to this statistics.

“By 2014, 36 percent of 18- to 34-year-olds who had not completed a bachelor’s degree were living with their parent(s) while 27 percent were living with a spouse or partner,” the report said.

Nearly a half of college graduates – 46 percent in 2014 – were married or lived with a partner, while only 19 percent stayed at the family nest.

Speaking of racial diversity, “record-high shares” of young adults living with parents were blacks and Hispanics, 36 percent for each of the surveyed groups here. Only 17 percent of black young adults lived with a spouse or romantic partner in 2014, compared to 30 percent of Hispanics.