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Time to fly the nest?

Young adults in the US are now more likely to be roommates with their parents than with partners

Ashley Rodriguez
By Ashley Rodriguez


US parents may have made their homes too cushy for millennial children. Or perhaps coming of age during the Great Recession with crippling college debt and thinning career prospects ingrained an unprecedented level of frugality into millennial minds. Whatever the cause, one thing is for sure: Young Americans are in no rush to fly the nest.

More than ever, US adults under the age of 35 are choosing to live with their parents over any other type of living arrangement, including with partners, friends, or on one’s own, the Pew Research Center found. Some never left the nest, while others found themselves back in their parents’ basements or childhood bedrooms after a few years in college or the working world.

Pew analyzed US Census and American Community Survey data from 1880 to 2014 to determine the share of young adults who lived in households headed by parents, compared to other types of households.

It found that 32.1% of Americans ages 18- to 34-years-old lived with their parents in 2014, which was slightly more than the share that lived with their significant others. It also marks the greatest share to reside at home since the Great Depression, when 35% of adults under the age of 35 roomed with their parents.

In decades past, the majority of young people lived with their spouses and romantic partners. But that rate is rapidly declining, as millennials delay marriage, or wait to shack up with significant others until later in life. In 1960, 62% of adults were living with a spouse or partner by the time they were 35 years old. That share shrunk to 31.6% in 2014.

US millennials are also opting for other living arrangements more often, such as living alone. And, even more commonly, they’re living with other relatives, siblings, friends, or in group housing such as college dormitories or correctional facilities.

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