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36% of Americans 18-31 Living in Parents’ Basements

August 2, 2013  |  Share
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Millennials, in Their Parents’ Basements

By CATHERINE RAMPELL
CATHERINE RAMPELL
CATHERINE RAMPELL

Dollars to doughnuts.

Last year, a record 36 percent of people 18 to 31 years old — roughly the age range of the generation nicknamed the millennials — were living in their parents’ homes, according to a new Pew Research Center analysis of Census Bureau data. That compares to 32 percent of their same-aged counterparts in 2007, the year the recession began.

Notes: “Living at home” refers to an adult who is the child or stepchild of the head of the household, regardless of the adult’s marital status. Source: Pew Research Center tabulations of March Current Population Survey  Integrated Public Use Micro Sample.Pew Research CenterNotes: “Living at home” refers to an adult who is the child or stepchild of the head of the household, regardless of the adult’s marital status. Source: Pew Research Center tabulations of March Current Population Survey  Integrated Public Use Micro Sample.

And despite the frequent stories of recent college graduates stuck on their parents’ couches (or in their basements or above their garages), it is actually young people without bachelor’s degrees who are most likely to be living at home. The survey data, by the way, counts people who are living in college dormitories as living at home with their parents.

Notes: “Living at home” refers to an adult who is the child or stepchild of the head of the household, regardless of the adult’s marital status. Source: Pew Research Center tabulations of March 2012 Current Population Survey Integrated Public Use Micro Sample.Pew Research CenterNotes: “Living at home” refers to an adult who is the child or stepchild of the head of the household, regardless of the adult’s marital status. Source: Pew Research Center tabulations of March 2012 Current Population Survey Integrated Public Use Micro Sample.

Younger millennials (those 18 to 24) are more likely to be counted as living with their parents, partly because they are more likely to be in school.

Being unemployed is the biggest factor associated with living with one’s parents, not surprisingly. But there are other demographic traits that correlate with living with one’s parents, including being male. Young men are more likely to live at home even though they are now less likely to be in college than young women are.

Notes: Pew Research CenterNotes: “Living at home” refers to an adult who is the child or stepchild of the head of the household, regardless of the adult’s marital status. Source: Pew Research Center tabulations of March 2012 Current Population Survey Integrated Public Use Micro Sample.

One reason that both genders have become more likely to live with their parents is that marriage rates have fallen — both during the recession and in the decades before. A very tiny share of millennials live with their parents once they are married (about 3 percent in 2012).

In any case, these higher rates of living with parents have contributed to theunusually low household formation seen in recent years.

Jed Kolko, the chief economist at Trulia, recently estimated that low household formation rates had led to 2.4 million “missing households.”

“That’s equivalent to more than two years of normal household formation that have gone missing,” Mr. Kolko wrote.

These “missing households” can hold back the economy. With new households, after all, come furniture purchases and other kinds of consumer spending. Mark Zandi, chief economist at Moody’s Analytics, has estimated that under normal circumstances, each formation of a household adds about $145,000 to output that year as the spending ripples through the economy.

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