This news isn’t exactly shocking, considering the generation’s collective financial position, but the latest numbers are nevertheless striking.
The Associated Press reports on the latest census-data crunching by the Pew Research Center. They found that “living with parents is now the most common arrangement for people ages 18 to 34,” and a record number—19 percent—of Americans 25 to 34 are living at home, too. In 2014, 32.1 percent of Americans 18 to 34 were bunking with their parents, compared to 31.6 percent shacking up with a spouse or partner.
A post by Richard Fry at the Pew Research Center largely credits the fact that millennials aren’t rushing to the altar:
This turn of events is fueled primarily by the dramatic drop in the share of young Americans who are choosing to settle down romantically before age 35. 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- to 34-year-olds were living with a spouse or partner in their own household, and only one-in-five were living with their parents.
Fry also pointed out:
It’s worth noting that the overall share of young adults living with their parents was not at a record high in 2014. This arrangement peaked around 1940, when about 35% of the nation’s 18- to 34-year-olds lived with mom and/or dad (compared with 32% in 2014). What has changed, instead, is the relative share adopting different ways of living in early adulthood, with the decline of romantic coupling pushing living at home to the top of a much less uniform list of living arrangements.
As for the rest of them, 14 percent were living solo, as single parents, or with roommates; 22 percent were either with other family or in a group situation like a dorm. Men were more likely to be living at home while women were more likely to live with a partner, and more young women were heads of their own household—which Pew attributes to the fact they’re more likely to be single parents. If you break the numbers out by education:
For young adults without a bachelor’s degree, as of 2008 living at home with their parents was more prevalent than living with a romantic partner. By 2014, 36% of 18- to 34-year-olds who had not completed a bachelor’s degree were living with their parent(s) while 27% were living with a spouse or partner. Among college graduates, in 2014 46% were married or living with a partner, and only 19% were living with their parent(s).
You’d think if this was purely about marriage shifting to a later-life event, there would be more young adults living alone or with roommates. Presumably this is also down to stagnant wages, student debt, and a generalized post-recessionary hangover, and Pew does note that economic factors play a role here, as well. Which prompts a question: How much longer can the wedding-industrial complex possibly expand without collapsing into a pile of tattered white lace and yesterday’s buttercream frosting?