This generation of young adults has sometimes been labeled the “boomerang generation” for its proclivity to move out of the family home for a time and then boomerang right back. The Great Recession seems to have accelerated this tendency. The Pew Research survey found that among all adults ages 18 to 34, 24% moved back in with their parents in recent years after living on their own because of economic conditions.
Of course some young adults were already living at home for reasons that may or may not have to do with the weak economy. The youngest adults—ages 18 to 24—are more likely to fall into this category. According to the survey 40% of 18- to 24-year-olds currently live with their parents, and the vast majority of them say they did not move back home because of economic conditions (in fact many of them may have never moved out in the first place). Among those ages 25 to 34, only 12% currently live with their parents, but another 17% say they moved back home temporarily in recent years because of economic conditions.
Overall, 39% of all adults ages 18 to 34 say they either live with their parents now or moved back in temporarily in recent years, but there is considerable variance by age. Among 18- to 24-year-olds more than half (53%) live at home or moved in for a time during the past few years. Among adults ages 25 to 29, 41% live with or moved back in with their parents, and among those ages 30 to 34, 17% fall into this category.
Young men and young women are equally likely to fall into this category—40% of men ages 18 to 34 and 38% of women in the same age group either live with their parents now or moved back in for a time because of the economy. While there is no significant difference in the share of young whites, blacks or Hispanics who are living with their parents, young whites and Hispanics are much more likely than young blacks to have moved back in with their parents temporarily because of economic conditions.
Educational status is linked with living arrangements for young adults in their 30s, but not for those under age 30. Among 30- to 34-year-olds, college graduates are significantly less likely than non-college graduates to be living at home (10% vs. 22%). Among adults ages 18 to 29, educational status is not related to living arrangements: 42% of college graduates in this age group live with their parents, as do 50% of those who are currently enrolled in school and 49% of those who are not enrolled and do not have a college degree.
Employment status is correlated with living arrangements among young adults. Nearly half (48%) of adults ages 18 to 34 who are not employed either live with their parents or moved in with them temporarily because of economic conditions. Among those who are employed full or part time, 35% are living at home or moved back for a time. Young adults who are not just working but feel they are in a “career” are among the least likely to be living with their parents.
Only 17% of these young adults are living at home. By comparison, 42% of young working adults who say their job is a stepping stone to a career or just a job to get them by are living with their parents or have done so in recent years.
Similarly, working young adults who are not satisfied with their wages have a greater likelihood of living at home. Among those who say they do not get paid enough for the kind of work they do, 41% are living with their parents or moved back in for a time because of the economy. Among those who say they do get paid enough, only 27% are living at home.