30 Percent of 18 to 34-Year-Olds Are Still Living With Their Parents

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For the first time in modern history, up to 30% of young adults ages 18-35 are still living at home with their parents.

Now, plenty of parents adore their children. That said, after they survive the preteen and high school years, parents are often ready to watch their little birds fly the nest and move on to the next phases of life. That’s what they train them for, after all — why they put in the late nights, and read the books, and grit their teeth when their 16-year-old daughter’s mood changes for the fifteenth time in an hour. But it’s all worth it in the end, parents hope, because their kids eventually become confident adults.

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I imagine it’s harder to see your children as grown, autonomous adults when they’re still living under your roof. Not to mention the potential arguments and awkwardness that can ensue when adults co-habitate — bills, groceries, cleanliness, romance…everything might end up feeling out of whack.

All of this is obvious, of course, which can only mean that young adults probably wouldn’t choose to stay at home with their parents unless their other options were limited. And we’re talking 24 million people here — so what’s up?

There seem to be several factors involved. Firstly, fewer people are getting married in their twenties, and more and more people are choosing to remain single altogether.

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Richard Fry of the Pew Center for Research elaborates, saying:

“Dating back to 1880, the most common living arrangement among young adults has been living with a romantic partner, whether a spouse or a significant other. This type of arrangement peaked around 1960, when 62% of the nation’s 18-34-year-olds were living with a spouse or partner in their own household, and only one-in-five were living with their parents.”

Back then, there was also a lot of shame (mostly for women) attached to remaining single after a certain age. Today, most Americans feel that education and professional achievement outweigh the need to marry or have kids. That said, they could still move out on their own…

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Except unfortunately, young men aren’t earning the same amount of money as they were decades ago. Wages have both been on a downward trend since the 1970s, so financial stress factors into kids deciding when and if they can strike out on their own.

With kids earning less, feeling less enthusiastic about their options after spending hundreds of thousands on a college education, and less inclined to put romance over financial stability, the trend doesn’t seem likely to reverse itself anytime soon.

What does that mean for society? Well, we’ll just have to wait and see.