Share of young adults living with parents higher now than Great Depression

As of July, 55 percent of young men and 50 percent of young women now live with a parent, compared to respective rates of 50 percent and 43 percent before the pandemic. Pexels

More young adults are living with at least one parent than at any point in documented American history, including the end of the Great Depression, according to a new poll from the Pew Research Center.

The share of 18- to 29-year-olds living at home has increased from 47 percent in February, before the COVID-19 pandemic, to 52 percent in July, the poll found. In those five months, 2.6 million young Americans have moved back in with mom and dad.

The 5 percentage-point bounce in five months of 2020 is equal to the increase seen in the decade that spanned most of the Great Depression. From 1930 to 1940, the share increased from 43 percent to 48 percent, according to Pew’s analysis of the decennial census, a mark not matched until the coronavirus-induced economic crisis of 2020. (It does not capture any data points during the Great Depression, only at the beginning and end, via the census surveys of 1930 and 1940.)

The number had been slowly increasing for decades prior to the pandemic, from a low of 29 percent in 1960 to 38 percent in 2000 and 44 percent in 2010.

Although older Americans are more at threat from the effects of the virus, previous research has shown the younger population has borne the brunt of its economic toll. One in 10 young adults had been forced to move because of reasons related to the pandemic, the largest share of any age group and triple the national rate, according to a July Pew poll. Another poll released by Pew in June showed one-quarter of workers between the ages of 16 and 24 had lost their jobs, while no other age group reported job losses of more than 13 percent.

It was also the youngest age bracket who was most likely to have moved back home since the pandemic began. Those between 18 and 24 were already most likely to live at home and increased 8 percentage points to 71 percent of respondents. The number was already high due to it including college students in dormitories, Pew said, but that also means it does not capture on-campus students sent home during the pandemic. However, summer is usually a high-water mark due to off-campus students moving home.

The upper half of the age bracket, 25-29, increased by the smallest share of any demographic group, 2 percentage points, to 28 percent. They made up 500,000 of the 2.6 million young adults who moved home, according to the poll.

White young adults, who had been less likely to live at home than their Black, Asian and Latino peers, moved home at a higher rate, somewhat closing the racial gap of multigenerational cohabitation, according to the poll. They made up 68 percent, or about 1.7 million, of the increase among their peers.

Even after a 7 percentage-point bounce, Whites were the only ethnic group with fewer than 50 percent of respondents living with at least one parent. Their share increased from 42 percent to 49 percent, compared with 46 percent to 51 percent among Asians, 50 percent to 55 percent among Blacks and 55 percent to 58 percent among Latinos.

As of July, 55 percent of young men and 50 percent of young women now live with a parent, compared to respective rates of 50 percent and 43 percent before the pandemic.

Not all these represent adult children moving back home, though it does account for the growth in the pandemic period, Pew said. About 12 percent of the total includes those living in their own homes and homes of others, like siblings, alongside their parents.

Tribune Wire


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