The number of American young adults living with their parents is at or near an all-time high, and the coronavirus pandemic is likely the reason, according to a new analysis.
A new report by the Pew Research Center found that a majority of young adults – 52% – lived with one or both of their parents in July. Pew’s analysis of monthly Census Bureau data notes that this is higher than any previous measurement.
“Before 2020, the highest measured value was in the 1940 census at the end of the Great Depression, when 48% of young adults lived with their parents,” says the report, published Friday. “The peak may have been higher during the worst of the Great Depression in the 1930s, but there is no data for that period.”
Pew defines young adults as 18- to 29-year-olds. The number of young adults living with parents grew to 26.6 million in July, an increase of 2.6 million from February, Pew said.
Young adults have been hit especially hard by the recent economic downturn and have been more likely to move than other age groups, according to Pew research.
Growth in the number of young adults living with their parents was the sharpest for the youngest adults, ages 18-24, according to the analysis.
“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,” Pew says.
One notable change, according to Pew’s experts: When it comes to the share of young adults living with their parents, the racial and ethnic differences appear to be narrowing.
“In past decades, White young adults have been less likely than their Asian, Black and Hispanic counterparts to live with their parents,” the report says. “That gap has narrowed since February as the number of White young adults living with their mothers and/or fathers grew more than for other racial and ethnic groups.”
Cheryl Young, a senior economist at Zillow, says the increase in young people moving back home has started to impact the rental market.
“Essentially we saw about a little over 3 million more people moving home … with their parents or grandparents, from a year ago. That’s up about 9 percent,” she says.
“A big share of that population that moved home are young people, Gen Z, 18- 25-year-olds, and even some millennials as well,” Young adds.
“Gen Z in particular, I would say 75% of that group tends to be renters. With a lot of young people not renting, not moving into cities when they normally would have, there is a lot of inventory coming onto the market.”