The share of young adults in the United States who are living with a parent has grown considerably in recent decades, a trend that many Americans see as bad for society, according to a Pew Research Center survey conducted in October 2021.
Pew Research Center conducted this analysis to better understand how Americans view the trend of more young adults living with their parents. To do this, we surveyed 9,676 U.S. adults from Oct. 18 to 24, 2021. Everyone who took part is a member of the Center’s American Trends Panel (ATP), an online survey panel that is recruited through national, random sampling of residential addresses. This way nearly all U.S. adults have a chance of selection. The survey is weighted to be representative of the U.S. adult population by gender, race, ethnicity, partisan affiliation, education and other categories. Read more about the ATP’s methodology.
Data on the share of young adults living with their parents is based on the monthly Current Population Survey (CPS), conducted by the U.S. Census Bureau for the Bureau of Labor Statistics. The CPS is the nation’s premier labor force survey and is the basis for the monthly national unemployment rate released on the first Friday of each month. The CPS is based on a sample survey of about 60,000 households. All estimates use complete datasets supplied by the Census Bureau; the estimates are not seasonally adjusted.
The CPS somewhat overstates the number of young adult college students who live with their parents. That is because unmarried college students residing in dormitories are counted as living with their parents, so the CPS cannot be used to measure the migration of college students living in dormitories to their parents’ homes since the onset of the pandemic. Not all unmarried college students ages 18 to 29 live in dormitories or with their parents. In February 2020, of the 12.6 million unmarried 18- to 29-year-old college students counted in the CPS, 5.2 million lived neither in dormitories nor with their parents.
Over a third of Americans (36%) say that more young adults living with their parents is bad for society, while 16% say it is good for society. Nearly half of Americans (47%) say it doesn’t make a difference.
In July 2022, half of adults ages 18 to 29 were living with one or both of their parents. This was down from a recent peak of 52% in June 2020 but still significantly higher than the share who were living with their parents in 2010 (44% on average that year) or 2000 (38% on average).
Attitudes about this trend differ significantly by race and ethnicity, age, gender, income and political party. White adults (41%) are more likely than Black (26%), Hispanic (28%) and Asian American adults (23%) to say that more young adults living with their parents is bad for society. They are also the least likely to see this as a good thing (12% say this, vs. 24% of Black adults, 23% of Hispanic adults and 27% of Asian adults). Similar shares across racial and ethnic groups say that more young adults living with their parents doesn’t make a difference for society.
Across age groups, larger shares say more adults living with their parents is bad for society than say it is good for society. But adults younger than 30 are less likely than older adults to see this as a bad thing.
Men are more likely than women to say it’s bad for society that more young people are living with their parents (42% vs. 31%). Income is also associated with views on this issue. Upper-income adults (46%) are more likely than those with middle (39%) or lower (28%) incomes to say more young adults living with their parents is bad for society. Among lower-income adults, roughly one-in-four (23%) say this trend is good for society.
A smaller share of Democrats and Democratic-leaning independents than Republicans and Republican leaners see more young adults living with their parents as bad for society (29% vs. 48%, respectively). In turn, Democrats are nearly twice as likely as Republicans to see more young adults living with their parents as a good thing (20% vs. 11%).