The U.S. Census Bureau released some shocking new data analysis this week showing that more young people between the ages of 18 and 34 are now living with their parents than in any other residential arrangement.
In fact, in 2015, 24 million young adults — that’s one-in-three — lived with mom and dad. That’s a pretty stark change from 2005, when the majority of young adults lived in their own homes independently. At the time, this was the predominant living arrangement for young adults in 35 of the nation’s 50 states; today, this is the case in just six states.
While 31 percent of young people live with their parents, 27 percent live with a spouse — and that’s where the biggest change has unfolded. Consider that, while 26 percent of young adults did live with their parents in 1975, 57 percent then lived with a spouse. Thus, the proportion living with a spouse has decreased 30 percentage points over the past 40 years.
Additionally, 21 percent of people aged 18 through 34 now live with a roommate, 12 percent are cohabitating and 8 percent live alone.
“Most of today’s Americans believe that educational and economic accomplishments are extremely important milestones of adulthood,” the report’s highlights read. “In contrast, marriage and parenthood rank low: over half of Americans believe that marrying and having children are not very important in order to become an adult.”
And the census data published in the new report, “The Changing Economics and Demographics of Young Adulthood From 1975 to 2016,” even goes a bit deeper into the narrative, finding that one-in-four of the young individuals who live at home neither work nor attend school.
The report dubs these individuals as “idle,” noting that around 2.2 million 25 to 34 year olds fall into this category.
Some might be quick to dismiss these individuals or make assumptions about their motivations for not working, though the census report noted that they are more likely to have a child or be caring for family. Additionally, more than one-quarter of them have disabilities of some form.
Either way, there is an overarching narrative worth noting: When it comes to young adults, it seems the priorities and assumptions about milestones in adulthood are quite different from what those in previous generations have cited.
In fact, a Census press release announcing the data opened as follows: “Today’s young adults look different from prior generations in almost every regard: how much education they have, their work experiences, when they start a family and even who they live with while growing up.”
Take marriage, for instance. While most young people will eventually marry, the average age at which the vast majority have tied the knot has shot up substantially. While eight-in-10 Americans married by age 30 in the 1970s, today it isn’t until age 45 that this happens, as the Census data notes.
One of the other findings in the report is that the proportion of women between the ages of 25 and 34 who have chosen to become homemakers has decreased substantially since 1975, falling from 43 percent to 14 percent, as The Daily Mail reported.
It should be noted that this trend was already highlighted in 2016 by the Pew Research Center. Based on Census data, the polling firm released a report detailing the potential reasons why a higher percentage of young adults are living with their parents.
“This turn of events is fueled primarily by the dramatic drop in the share of young Americans who are choosing to settle down romantically before age 35,” Pew explained. “Dating back to 1880, the most common living arrangement among young adults has been living with a romantic partner, whether a spouse or a significant other.”
In fact, 2014 was the first time in more than 130 years, according to Pew, that more young adults were living with parents than with a spouse or significant other in an independent household.
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