The economy continues to recover five years after the Great Recession: unemployment is down, full-time work is up, and wages are on the rise, says a new Pew Research Center analysis of US Census Bureau data — but American 18- to 34-year-olds are less likely to be living independently than they were when the country was in the depths of its economic downturn.
Richard Fry, writing for Pew Social Trends, says there are more young adults than there were when the recession hit. In fact, the number of 18- to 34-year-olds has increased by almost 3 million since 2007, while the number living in their own homes has not increased at all.
Young adults living in their own homes numbered 25 million in 2015 and 25.2 million in 2007, a trend that affects the country’s housing market recovery, sales of furnishings, telecom and cable installations, and other purchases that accompany owning a home.
The decline in independent living has been apparent in both the ranks of college-educated young adults and their less-educated counterparts. This fact suggests that trends in living arrangements for young adults is not being influenced by the labor market, since the college-educated demographic has experienced a stronger labor market recovery than that of less-educated young adults.
There were no substantial differences in living arrangements based on gender during the recession recuperation, and both men and women in the Millennial group are less likely to live on their own today than they were five years ago.
The term “doubled-up” is being used to describe households in which there is an extra adult who is not a spouse or unmarried partner of the head-of-household. This describes young adults who are not living independently and count as an extra adult in the home, or young adults living independently but who are “doubled-up” by living with a roommate(s).
Since the Great Recession, according to the study, the number of Millennials with jobs has begun to recover; earnings for young adults have increased modestly since 2012; college enrollment for this group has declined.
Although the Pew report does not explain why Millennials are not leaving home, it does make the observation that it is not because they cannot find good jobs, says Michael Rainy, writing for The Fiscal Times. Perhaps, he writes, young people enjoy living at home and feel no pressure to move out, or it could be that US adult children are following the example of the Italians, many of whom live with their parents until they marry.
An additional factor addressed in the study is rising rents. In San Francisco, according to Zillow, the online real estate database company, a one-bedroom apartment can go for as much as $3,000 a month.
The Los Angeles Times’ Samantha Masunaga reports that student loan debt is a contributing factor in the trend toward Millennials living with their parents. Fry adds that the change in attitude about moving back home could make it easier for young adults to make the choice to move back in with mom and dad.