Pew Report: Record Number of Young Women Living with Parents


The Pew Research Center analyzed US Census Bureau information and found that 36.4% of women between the ages of 18 to 34 lived with their families in 2014, particularly in the home of mom, dad or both. This number is a larger number than at any point since the 1940s says Richard Fry, writing for Pew Research.

The number of women living with parents is parallel to the number of men who are doing the same, which is a trip down memory lane, statistically speaking. In 1940, 36.2% of young women lived with parents or relatives, but that number decreased over the next few decades as the rate of marriages increased and more women began working and were able to live on their own.

In 1960, only 24% of young adults stayed home, but that number rose from 1960 to 2000, and then skyrocketed after that, mainly because of the Great Recession in 2008. Although the labor market has recovered, the trend has not reversed and has instead become more evident.

Young women are living with their parents today in spite of the fact that they are likely to be college graduates and unmarried. In the decade leading up to World War II, women lived at home until married, and only a small percentage went to college.

Even in 1960, only 5% of 18 to 34-year-old women attended college. Now, it is five times more likely that women are college educated. In 2014, 27% of young women were college students.

Young adults who are college, part-time college, or community college students are substantially more likely to live with parents than those who are not in college. In 2014, 45% of females in college lived with their family and 33% of young women who were not in college lived at home.

Young women today are delaying marriage compared with women of earlier decades. In 2013, 30% of young women were married compared to 62% in 1940. Census statistics showed that in 2014, women typically began their first marriage at 27, while, in 1940, it was 21.5.

In 2014, 42.8% of young men lived with their parents, which is higher than the number of women, but not higher than the highest rates ever recorded, as the women's rate are.

In the wake of the Great Depression, in 1940, 47.5% of 18- to 34-yer-old men lived with their families. The national unemployment rate for those 14 and above was almost 15%. The national unemployment rate for those 16 and older peaked in 2010, during the Great Recession, to 9.6%.

Tanvi Misra, reporting for Atlantic Media, writes that with the high cost of renting and enormous student loan debt, it is no wonder staying at home with mom and dad is a reasonable option. Still, she says that it seems like an unusual choice for the highly independent millennial ladies of today.

Casey Ballard of Portland, Oregon, was living away from home, but her rent was taking two-thirds of her paycheck, and she wanted to go back to school to become a teacher.

"There was that element of frustration and feeling like a failure," she says about returning home. "But then the logical side of me kicked in and said ‘It's just fiscally responsible.'"

The return to home by young adults is not because of unemployment, says Fry. A possible factor that could be changing the number of young adults who are living at home is the increased ethnic diversity across this age demographic. The introduction of the cultural tradition of residing at home for a longer time is becoming more prevalent, writes Sarah Skidmore Sell of The Associated Press.

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