Sep 4, 2020 - Economy & Business

Pew: Record 52% of young adults in U.S. are living with their parents

Illustration of paper cut-out families under outlined houses
Illustration: Eniola Odetunde/Axios

A higher percentage of young adults in the U.S. are living with their parents now than they were at the end of the Great Depression, according to Pew Research data released Friday.

Why it matters: The data suggest that the economic uncertainty and continuing unemployment brought on by the coronavirus pandemic are pushing more young adults to move in with their parents.

By the numbers: According to Pew, 52% of young adults aged 18 to 29 were living with one or both of their parents in July. That's more than the 48% of young Americans who lived with their parents in 1940, the previous recorded peak.

  • Yes, but: Pew points out that there is no relevant data for the height of the Great Depression in the 1930s.
  • Still, more than 50% of young adults counted in the U.S. Census Bureau's Current Population survey have been living with parents since April of this year, per Pew.

The big picture: Deciding whether to move back in with their parents is just one of the compounding challenges young adults in the U.S. have faced due to the pandemic.

  • Working from home: Young adults just starting their careers face stunted opportunities for mentorship and growth while working remotely, The Atlantic's Amanda Mull writes.
  • Mental health: One in four Americans between 18 and 24 years old said they had considered suicide in June because of the pandemic, according to a survey from the Centers of Disease Control and Prevention.
  • College: 22% of college students across all four years are not planning to enroll this fall, according to a College Reaction/Axios poll found. Universities, meanwhile, have sparked a new wave of coronavirus hotspots across the country.

The bottom line: More young adults living at home may affect the U.S. economy by slowing demand for housing and household goods, and by cutting down the number of renters, per Pew.

Methodology: Pew used data from the Current Population Survey (CPS) by the U.S. Census Bureau, based on a sample survey of roughly 60,000 households. Responses to the CPS in July decreased by 15.3 percentage points due to data collection limited by the coronavirus outbreak.

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