Jul 26, 2022 - Economy

Young Americans are staying close to home

Illustration of a mailbox with a location pin as the flag.

Illustration: Shoshana Gordon/Axios

The vast majority of young adults in the U.S. live within a stone's throw of where they grew up, per new Census Bureau/Harvard University research, Alex Fitzpatrick reports.

Why it matters: It's yet another data point suggesting many young Americans are staying relatively close to home rather than striking out on their own, in part due to economic forces.

By the numbers: By age 26, 80% of young adults live fewer than 100 miles from where they grew up.

  • 90% live fewer than 500 miles away.

And young adults' mobility breaks down along racial and socioeconomic lines.

  • Black and Hispanic people live closer to their hometowns than other groups, per the study.
  • And "distances traveled rise rapidly at the top of the income distribution, increasing to an average of 325 miles for those born to families in the top 1%."

The context: Pew recently found that multigenerational living is rising dramatically among young Americans, in part as a way to cope with skyrocketing housing and schooling costs.

The takeaway: Those who can afford to live far from home have an easier time accessing opportunities in far-flung, economically healthier cities. As the new study puts it: "Young adults from the least affluent families are more exposed to the strength of labor markets in their hometown and less exposed to the strength of more distant labor markets."

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