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The Agenda

NRO’s domestic-policy blog, by Reihan Salam.

The Living Arrangements of Millennials



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The Pew Research Center has a new report on the living arrangements of Americans between the ages of 18 and 31. The headline finding is that the share of young adults living with their parents is at its highest level in forty years:

In 2012, 36% of the nation’s young adults ages 18 to 31—the so-called Millennial generation—were living in their parents’ home, according to a new Pew Research Center analysis of U.S. Census Bureau data. This is the highest share in at least four decades and represents a slow but steady increase over the 32% of their same-aged counterparts who were living at home prior to the Great Recession in 2007 and the 34% doing so when it officially ended in 2009.

Employment levels among young adults are substantially lower than they were in 2007:

In 2012, 63% of 18- to 31-year-olds had jobs, down from the 70% of their same-aged counterparts who had jobs in 2007. In 2012, unemployed Millennials were much more likely than employed Millennials to be living with their parents (45% versus 29%).

This in part reflects rising college enrollment:

In March 2012, 39% of 18- to 24-year-olds were enrolled in college, up from 35% in March 2007. Among 18 to 24 year olds, those enrolled in college were much more likely than those not in college to be living at home – 66% versus 50%.

Meanwhile, marriage rates have declined:

In 2012 just 25% of Millennials were married, down from the 30% of 18- to 31-year-olds who were married in 2007. Today’s unmarried Millennials are much more likely than married Millennials to be living with their parents (47% versus 3%). [Emphasis added]

The share of young adults who were married and living with a spouse has fallen from 56 percent in 1968 to 23 percent in 2012.

Given this changing landscape, it is hardly surprising that the U.S. has seen a changing pattern of wage and wealth dispersion in recent decades. 



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