The coronavirus pandemic has pushed the number of 18- to 29-year-olds living with their parents to its highest level since the Great Depression, according to the Pew Research Center.
In July, 52 percent of young adults resided with one or both of their parents, up from 47 percent in February, according to a new Pew Research Center analysis of monthly Census Bureau data.
The number living with parents grew to 26.6 million, an increase of 2.6 million from February. The number and share of young adults living with their parents grew across the board for all major racial and ethnic groups, men and women, and metropolitan and rural residents, as well as in all four main census regions, the research shows.
Growth was sharpest for the youngest adults (ages 18 to 24) and for white young adults.
About 1-in-10 young adults (9 percent) say they relocated temporarily or permanently due to the coronavirus outbreak, and about the same share (10 percent) had somebody move into their household, the analysis showed.
Among all adults who moved due to the pandemic, 23 percent said the most important reason was because their college campus had closed, and 18 percent said it was due to job loss or other financial reasons, the research shows.
By region, the number and share of young adults living with parents grew throughout the country. Growth was sharpest in the South, where the total rose by more than a million and the share increased by 6 percentage points, from 46 to 52 percent, the research shows.
But the Northeast retained its status as the region where the highest share of young adults live with parents (57 percent).
The share of young adults living with their parents is higher than in any previous measurement (based on current surveys and decennial censuses).
Before 2020, the highest measured value was in the 1940 census at the end of the Great Depression, when 48 percent of young adults lived with their parents, the research shows.
The peak may have been higher during the worst of the Great Depression in the 1930s, but there is no data for that period.
The share of young adults living with parents declined in the 1950 and 1960 censuses before rising again, the research shows.
The monthly share in the Current Population Survey has been above 50 percent since April of this year, reaching and maintaining this level for the first time since CPS data on young adults’ living arrangements became available in 1976.
Young adults have been particularly hard hit by this year’s pandemic and economic downturn, and have been more likely to move than other age groups, according to a Pew Research Center survey.
The study found that the vast majority of young adults who live with their parents – 88 percent – live in their parents’ home, and this group accounts for the growth in the population of adult children living with their parents. Nearly all of the remainder live in their own homes along with their parents, or in homes headed by other family members. These shares have been relatively stable for the past decade.
Young men are more likely than young women to live with their parents, and both groups experienced increases in the number and share residing with mom, dad or both parents since the beginning of the coronavirus outbreak. Similarly, a higher share of young adults in metropolitan areas compared with rural ones live with their parents now, but the number in both areas grew from February to July, the research showed.