May 24, 2016

In the U.S. and abroad, more young adults are living with their parents

FT_16.05.20_livingWithParents_EuropeMore young adults in the U.S. are living with their parents than at any time since around 1940, according to a new Pew Research Center analysis of census data. This trend is not, as you might assume, solely a consequence of the 2007-09 Great Recession, nor is it limited to the U.S. Across much of the developed world, researchers have noted that more young adults are living at their parents’ homes for longer periods – in some cases because they never left, in others because they moved back after being on their own in college or the working world.

Across the European Union’s 28 member nations, nearly half (48.1%) of 18- to 34-year-olds were living with their parents in 2014, according to the EU statistical agency Eurostat. Though the Eurostat data, which are gathered by individual countries, may not always be comparable with Pew Research Center’s analysis of the U.S., most EU members appear to have notably higher rates of young adults living at home than does the U.S. And like the U.S., young European men are more likely than young women to live in their parents’ home: 54.4% versus 41.7%, respectively, according to Eurostat.

However, European countries differ widely in what some researchers term their “co-residence rates.” The Scandinavian countries have the lowest rates, with Denmark coming in at 18.6%. Southern and eastern European countries tend to have higher rates, led by the former Yugoslav republic of Macedonia: 72.5% of 18- to 34-year-olds reportedly were living with their parents.

FT_16.05.20_livingWithParents_USCo-residence rates rose in many, but not all, European countries during and after the continent-wide economic crisis of 2009-13. As one team of researchers noted, the change in southern Europe was “negligible,” largely because “the vast majority of young people in these countries already live with their parents.” But for young people in other countries, “economic hardship becomes a push factor to leave home as they find employment.” While co-residence rates in most countries have edged lower in the past few years, they’re still above 2005 levels in 21 of the 28 countries for which there were data.

Similar long-term trends have been observed elsewhere. Canada’s most recent census, in 2011, found that 42.3% of adults ages 20 to 29 lived in their parents’ homes, up from 32.1% in 1991 and 26.9% in 1981. In Australia, about 29% of 18- to 34-year-olds were living with one or both of their parents (but without a partner or child) in 2011, up from 21% in 1976. And in Japan, the share of 20- to 34-year-olds living with their parents grew from 29.5% in 1980 to 48.9% in 2012.

Topics: Europe, Family and Relationships, Household and Family Structure

  1. Photo of Drew DeSilver

    is a senior writer at Pew Research Center.


  1. sinnathamby sundaralingam1 year ago

    Family living is slowly turning into a responsible matter. Till every body is financially sound,and mentall matured to start a separate house hold living. Civilization of age old humans, have developed to this advanced level of seperate family living after they have reached their thirties.

  2. Anonymous1 year ago

    Is it any surprise? First we have coddled and lied to the present generation from the start of their lives. We demanded that all children be included to play in organized sports at an early age regardless of their capability forcing Little League and other sports to let everyone play regardless of ability. We promoted hight education but changed the grading systems so poor performers would not be embarrassed or depressed! We told them that with a college degree they could do anything! We protected them from true competition, criticism from their peers, and demanded nothing from them. Now they are grown and struggling to understand why the world is such a competitive place and why people do not recognize how great they are! This is the world of progressives. Al

  3. Anonymous1 year ago

    There is nothing and I mean NOTHING cultural about this. Take the bad economic climate, the lack of jobs due to this and the higher and higher levels of automation and outsourcing to different countries and you’ve got the current situation. The power balance in the working world has shifted almost fully towards the employer, resulting in low pay for the new entry level workforce. With no way to increase this to equivalent levels compared to previous generations, the high prices of real estate and the high requirements for mortgages, you have two choices. Live with mom or get extorted for rent money to pay someone else’s mortgage.

  4. Anonymous1 year ago

    Can you break down the age bracket of 18-34 into groups? For example, can you show us the percentage between 18-20, 20-22, 22-24, etc?

  5. Anonymous1 year ago

    This is all cultural. It was always normal for Southern and Eastern Europeans to stick with their families, even when they were married. It was always the Northern Europeans and the out at 18 rule that was odd.

  6. Jared Kelley1 year ago

    The data in this article provides no: 1) Breakdown of percentages based on age (e.g. 15% of those 18-21 or 2% of those 30-34) also, 2) according to their own chart, our cohort matches 1880 and 1940, with 1960 being the true outlier, and 3) there are “more people living with their parents” as a single category but the percentage of people living outside of the home split between groups has gone largely unchanged. What we really should be worried about is the general public’s inability to read a bar graph, compare data, and think critically.

    1. Anonymous1 year ago

      Could not of said it better myself.

    2. Anonymous1 year ago


  7. Packard Day1 year ago

    So let’s hear it Millennials. Are you better off today than you were eight years ago? If you answered, YES, then you will know how to vote this November in order to get four (or eight) more years of the existing status quo. Good luck and best wishes.

    1. Megan Tabitha1 year ago

      Nope. Eight years ago I was working full time and living on my own. Now I’m unemployed (laid off for the third time) and living with my parents out of desperation, so I definitely will NOT be voting to continue the status quo. Unfortunately, I’m not too pleased with the other main candidate either. I weep for my country.