Even before the Great Recession, the percentage of young adults living with their parents was on the rise due to both demographic shifts and trends in employment and wages. Since the Great Recession, the rate continues to climb. According to data from the Bureau of Labor Statistics’s Current Population Survey, the percentage of 25- to 34-year-olds living with their parents reached 16.8 percent in 2019, after steadily rising from 10.8 percent in 2005.
The trend of more young adults living with their parents is fueled by several factors. One reason is that young adults are getting married later, and a growing number of young adults may never marry. The Pew Research Center hypothesizes that declining employment rates and wages for young men has led to an increase in their demographic not leaving home, whereas declining marriage rates may better explain the trend for women.
As more young adults reside with parents, the size of the average U.S. household is growing for the first time in 160 years. The recent increase in household size is partly due to an increase in multigenerational households and partly due to Americans “doubling up”—where at least one additional adult other than the householder, spouse, or cohabiting adult lives in a household.
Young adults who live with their parents tend to fare worse in the labor market and have lower incomes. According to 2018 data from the U.S. Census Bureau, the unemployment rate of young adults aged 25-34 who live with their parents was 10 percent, nearly double the 5.1 percent unemployment rate of all young adults aged 25-34. The median personal income of young adults living with their parents—$20,000 in 2018—was 33 percent lower than the median personal income among all young adults and 41 percent lower than that of all adults aged 25-64.
According to data from the U.S. Census Bureau’s American Community Survey, at the national level, 20.1 percent of young adults lived with their parents in 2018 (this estimate is higher than the published statistics from the Bureau of Labor Statistics due to sampling methods and differences in survey response categories, but the observed trend is the same). The percentage of young adults who live with their parents varies widely across cities and states. States in the Midwest have the lowest rates of young adults living at home, while coastal states such as California, New York, New Jersey, and Hawaii have the highest rates.
To determine the U.S. metros with the most young adults still living at home, researchers at Lattice Publishing analyzed the latest data from the U.S. Census Bureau. The researchers ranked metros according to the percentage of young adults aged 24-35 living with their parents. Researchers also looked at how the unemployment rate and median income of young adults living with their parents compared to their peers.
To improve relevance, only metropolitan areas with at least 100,000 people were included in the analysis. Additionally, metro areas were grouped into cohorts based on population size where small metros contain 100,000 to 350,000 people, medium metros contain 350,000 to 1,000,000 people, and large metros contain at least 1,000,000 people.