Moving back with parents

Date posted: February 9, 2011

With the condition of today’s economy, are more young adults living with their parents? N.C. State University economist Mike Walden discusses the trends over time.

“Well it is interesting to look at the trends in young people — and by young, we’ll say young adults aged 25 to 34 — to look at the experiences historically of those folks living with their parents. Early in the last century, specifically from 1900 to 1940, one out of four young adults lived with their parents. It was quite common. Then beginning in 1940 and going to 1980, it took a big plunge. It was cut in half. By 1980 only 12 percent of young adults were living with their parents.

“But since 1980 that trend has reversed, and it has been going up. And today 22 percent of young men — again, aged 25 to 34 — and 18 percent of women are living with their parents. And this upward trend has spanned both good times and bad times, and I think there are a couple of reasons.

“I think one is that young adults are staying in school longer. They are going to college, and so often times living at home is a way to reduce the cost of college.

“Also after they graduate, many young adults may say, ‘Gee, I have a lot of college loans to pay off so I am going to continue to live with my parents in order to save expenses so I can pay off those loans.’

“And then I think that certainly the economy is a factor. The economy has been very fast changing over the last couple of decades, and it is really leaving a lot of younger workers sort of out in the cold. The types of jobs that they thought they were training for and could get are no longer there. Again, if you are economically down, going back and living with the parents is a good idea in many cases.”

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