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Culture & Religion

Young Adults Live With Parents More Often than Romantic Partner

For the first time in 130 years, more young adults are living with their parents than with a spouse. Find out why that is and what it could mean for the economy.

Pew Research Center has the details on a curious demographic trend — America’s young adults of today are more likely to live with their parents than several of the previous generations. In fact, for the 18- to 34-year-old population, it is now more common to live with parents than to be living with a spouse or partner in a separate home. That statistic hasn’t been true for 130 years.

Looking into the reasons for such a strong demographic shift, Pew found that the main explanation is the large drop in young adults who choose to “settle down” with a romantic partner before they turn 35. Interestingly, the results are different by gender, with men of the demographic more likely than women to live with parents, and women more likely than men to live with a romantic partner. Falling wages for young men over the past few decades might have something to do with the gender trend.

Results also differ among other categories, such as race and ethnicity, and whether young adults are college educated:

Whether this is a positive or negative trend somewhat depends on your perspective. From the standpoint of the overall economy, it can be negative when young adults live with their parents and keep their overhead low, rather than say getting married and buying a bunch of things with their partner. However, at a micro scale, it’s possible that delaying the big step of moving out helps college graduates pay off the large amounts of debt they are shouldering and shelters them from skyrocketing rent prices in major U.S. cities.

Some take a humorous approach to the demographic phenomenon, calling it “The Great Delay.” Only time will tell when exactly this era’s young adults will create living situations of their own.