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Declining economic independence of young adults


The Pew Center has analyzed census data, and discovered that the percentage of 18-34 women who are living with family (usually their parent or parents) is at an all-time high since this statistic began to be gathered in 1940. The trend for young adult men is very similar:


Some notes:

(1) College students who live at their school are not counted as living with family, and the percentage of 18-34 year olds enrolled in college has increased enormously, going from 5% to 27% between 1960 and 2014 for women, and from 10% to 23% for men. Yet young adults enrolled in higher education are significantly more likely to be living at home than those who are not. This indicates the extent to which the classic picture of a college student as someone in residence at a four-year institution is inaccurate.

(2) Another trend which, all other things being equal, ought to lead to higher rates of independent living among young adults are higher marriage rates among 18-34 year-olds. Such rates have fallen in half since 1940 for both women and men, going from 62% to 30% and 48% to 24% respectively.

It seems clear that long-term economic changes are making it more and more difficult for young adults to establish economic and social independence from their birth families, and that this trend has become pronounced over the past 15 years.

(h/t Matt Leichter)

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