June 8, 2016

Increase in living with parents driven by those ages 25-34, non-college grads

A recent Pew Research Center analysis of census data found that in 2014, for the first time in more than 130 years, 18- to 34-year-olds in the U.S. were more likely to be living in their parents’ home than with a spouse or partner in their own household. A closer analysis of the data helps explain why: Adults in their late 20s and early 30s are living with their parents at record or near-record levels.

Record share of 25- to 34-year-olds living in parents' homeSince at least 1880, which is as far back as the census data go, the youngest group of young adults (those ages 18 to 24) have consistently been the most likely to live with their parents – which makes sense, given that they’re also the most likely to be unmarried and/or still in school. In 2014, half of all 18- to 24-year-olds lived in the home of one or both parents, up modestly from 46% in 2006.

But over that same period the share of 25- to 29-year-olds living in their parents’ home has risen more sharply – from 18% in 2006 to 25% in 2014, among the highest levels on record. And the 13% of 30- to 34-year-olds living with their parents in 2013 and 2014 (up from 9% in 2006) is the highest level for that group since 1940. (Other census data suggest that the share of 25- to 34-year-olds living with their parents continued to rise into 2015.)

College graduates least likely to live with parentsDespite the popular image of college-educated adults moving back into the family nest after graduation, young adults with at least a bachelor’s degree are the least likely to live with their parents (19% did in 2014). And the share of college grads doing so has risen less sharply than that of young adults with a high school education or less. Since 1960 (the overall low point for 18- to 34-year-olds living at home), the living-at-home share of college grads has grown by 74%, as opposed to a 103% increase for young adults with only a high school diploma and an 87% increase for those who did not finish high school.

Among 18- to 34-year-olds as a group, record-high shares of black and Hispanic young adults (36% for each group) lived in their parents’ home in 2014, compared with 30% of white young adults.

Looking at both education and race/ethnicity among 18- to 34-year-old adults, in 2014 non-Hispanic whites had both the highest (nearly 50%, for people without a high-school diploma) and lowest (17%, for college graduates) rates of living with parents. Interestingly, young-adult Hispanics without a high school diploma had almost the same relatively low rate (29%) of living in their parents’ home as Hispanic college grads (26%). One likely reason: Young Hispanics who have not completed high school are likelier to be immigrants, with their parents still back in their home country, than are college graduates.

Topics: Family and Relationships, Generations and Age, Household and Family Structure

  1. Photo of Drew DeSilver

    is a senior writer at Pew Research Center.


  1. Anonymous1 year ago

    How do people with one white non-hispanic parent and one white hispanic parent rate in your research? Seems to me these classifications are ridiculous and useless with all of the blended families.

  2. Dallas Stephens1 year ago

    Seems to me the authors of this story overlooked a few very obvious reasons as to why this phenomenon is occurring. One, increasingly high minimum wage mandates have pushed more low-skilled employees into unemployment, and/or shrink the avg. hours in a typical workweek. Two, the cost of gov’t-mandated, employer-provided healthcare has done the same. Three, the effects of various other labor laws like the Family Leave Act continue to push more & more labor costs onto employers. Four, after 50 yrs. of the War on Poverty, the family unit & work ethic has virtually disappeared which has led to poorly prepared / poorly educated youth. Five, the federal debt & deficit have exploded the federal debt and seriously damaged the value of the dollar, thus making the cost of basic housing, utilities, taxes, insurance and transportation almost unaffordable for low-skilled workers. Bottom line, unless & until all of these issues are corrected, reversed or eliminated, these trends will continue to get worse.

    1. Anonymous1 year ago

      Thank you Dallas. True. Hawaii has one if the highest rates of shared family housing in the US. People work 2-3 jobs to get by. Affordable hosing gives way to speculation and vacation rental. People here fish to eat. If you look at the article above, that is why shutting down Hawaiian fisheries is so hurtful. There is no income or food supply to replace the loss.