More Young Adults Now Live With Parents Than Romantic Partner

Researchers cite delays in marriage, economic downturn for the trend

mother talking to a teen daughter

TUESDAY, May 24, 2016 (HealthDay News) -- Can't seem to get your twenty-something kid to leave the family home?

You're not alone: A new study finds that more young U.S. adults now live with their parents than with a spouse or romantic partner.

It's the first time in more than 130 years that this has been the case among adults aged 18 to 34, the Pew Research Center authors said.

Establishing a new family, in a new home, "is not nearly as important as it was for [today's] young adults," Richard Fry, a senior researcher with Pew, told the Wall Street Journal.

His team note that, since 1880, the most common living arrangement for young adults has been living with a spouse or partner in their own household.

That type of arrangement reached its peak around 1960. In that year, 62 percent of young adults lived with a romantic partner, while only 20 percent lived with their parents.

However, by 2014, almost a third (32 percent) of young adults lived with their parents, while roughly the same number lived with a spouse or partner in their own place. Fourteen percent lived in a household alone, as a single parent, or with one or more roommates, the study found.

The remaining 22 percent of young adults lived in the home of either another family member (such as a grandparent, sibling or in-law); someone not related to them; or in group lodgings, including college dorms.

The percentage of young adults living with their parents in 2014 was not a record, however. That occurred around 1940, when about 35 percent of 18-to-34-year-olds lived with their parents at home, the Pew researchers said.

Living arrangements for young adults in 2014 tended to differ somewhat by gender, the Pew study found. Thirty-five percent of young males lived at home with their parents and 28 percent lived with a spouse or partner in their own place.

In contrast, 29 percent of women were still living with their parents, while 35 percent lived with a romantic partner.

Men were also more likely than women to live in the home of another family member, non-relative or in group lodgings.

More women than men (16 percent vs. 13 percent) headed up a household without a spouse or partner, mainly because women are more likely to be single parents living with their children.

Why are so many young people postponing their flight fom the parental nest?

According to the researchers, people are marrying later (or not getting married at all), and fewer couples are living together. There have also been recent declines in both employment and wages, plus increased college enrollment, the Pew team said.

The study also found that education and race/ethnicity made a difference. In 2014, 19 percent of college graduates were living with their parents, while 46 percent were either married or living with a spouse or partner. Compare that to young adults without bachelor's degrees, where 38 percent were living with parents and 27 percent were residing with a partner.

Forty percent of young adults who had not completed high school lived with their parents, the study found.

Race and ethnicity seemed to play a role, too, According to the study, in 2014, 36 percent of black and Hispanic young adults lived with their parents, compared with 30 percent of white young adults. Rates of living with a spouse or partner were 17 percent for blacks, 30 percent for Hispanics, and 36 percent for whites.

More information

The U.S. Census Bureau has more on young adults.

SOURCES: Pew Research Center, news release, May 24, 2016; May 24, 2016, Wall Street Journal
Consumer News