More Young Adults Choosing to Live with Parents

by | November 4, 2011 at 1:16 PM | General

By Morgan Brennan, Forbes Staff

Pro basketball player Andy Rautins is best known as a guard with the New York Knicks. He also happens to be a young adult who is living with his parents. Thanks to the NBA lockout, Rautins, 25, decided to move back into his Syracuse, NY childhood bedroom this year, telling ESPN New York that “…I’ve been trying to see the positives in staying home and there’s a bunch so far. It’s saving me a lot of money right now and I think that’s a big concern for a lot of players.”

Rautins is one of millions of young American adults opting to bunk with parents rather than inhabit a home of their own. It’s a growing trend fueled by the weak jobs market, economic uncertainty and the ongoing housing crisis.

The U.S. Census Bureau released a study on Thursday that tracks living situations for this demographic from 1983 through 2011. According to the data set, entitled America’s Families and Living Arrangements: 2011, the number of 25 to 34 year olds living with mom and dad has risen among both sexes since 2005: the number of young men living with parents is up from 14% to 19% and the number of young women is up from 8% to 10%. The Census’ graphs indicate that the numbers of older Generation-Yers living under their parents’ roofs — a number that had already been trending up before the “Great Recession” — continued to shoot up following the financial meltdown of 2008, specifically from the beginning of 2009 onwards.

Interestingly, the data signifies that Millennial males have been more likely to remain in the nest when compared to their female counterparts. Whereas the number of guys living with parents has rather steadily increased since 2000, the number of young women choosing to do so only started inching upward in 2003, peaking in 2010 and coming off ever so slightly (0.8%) this year.

For even younger adults, ages 18 to 24, staying kaput in parents’ digs appears to be even more appealing: 59% of men (a 6% increase since 2005) and 50% of women (a 4% increase since 2005) still live with parents. Since the Census counts dormitory-dwelling college students among those hefty percentages, these numbers may be a bit skewed.

The weak jobs market, with a national unemployment rate stubbornly stuck above 9%, contributes greatly to this growing trend. The Bureau of Labor Statistics has estimated that roughly two million college-educated workers aged 25 or older are currently unemployed, and the numbers rise significantly for younger and younger demographics, with teenagers suffering a stupefying 24.5% unemployment rate. (Check out: America’s Best Cities for Young Professionals)

The country’s ongoing housing woes have not helped, either. Weak consumer confidence and depreciating home values have affected prospective home buyers of all ages, encouraging many people including young adults to wait to buy. Stringent lending practices continue to make it difficult for first-time buyers — who tend to fall within this age range — to access money for purchases, too. And rental prices in many major markets across the U.S. have been on the rise as less people own homes, making places like New Haven, CT, a city centered around college students and young adults, some of the Worst Cities for Renters.

“Tough credit standards and high downpayments prevent them [young adults] from buying their own place, and with high unemployment and declining incomes, many can’t even afford to move out and rent,” explains Jed Kolko, chief economist and head of analytics at Trulia.com. “These doubled-up households represent pent-up demand for housing.”

Millennials might be putting off home ownership or rental right now, but they won’t choose to bunk with mom and dad forever — just until they find jobs and/or save enough money for digs of their own. Even pro athletes.

The opinions expressed are solely those of the author and do not necessarily reflect the views of Comcast.

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