Friday, August 14, 2015

Economic Improvements for Young Adults Not Translating into Living On One's Own

The Pew Research Center issued a late-July report entitled "More Millennials Living With Family Despite Improved Job Market" (link).

The report notes that, "unemployment among 18- to 34-year-olds peaked at 12.4% in 2010. As of the first third of 2015, unemployment among young adults in this age group was 7.7%, nearly 40% below the peak."

Yet, living independently, which Pew defines as "heading one's own household or living in a household headed by a spouse, unmarried partner or other non-relative," has not risen in tandem with the improving news on the jobs front. In fact, living independently has declined somewhat. In 2007, just before the Great Recession, 71% of 18-34 year-olds lived independently, whereas only 67% currently do. (Analyses exclude 18-24 year-old full-time college students.)

Living in one's parents' home has increased from 22% of 18-34 year-olds in 2007 to 26% in 2015.

Another interesting finding, characterized in the report as a "silver lining," is that college enrollment rose during the Great Recession. The report notes that, "College-educated young adults have been quicker to regain the ground they lost in terms of job-holding and wages. But this hasn’t led them to venture out on their own and establish their own households."

If the economy continues to improve, it is possible that large numbers of young adults who have been living with family will finally move out and live independently. Alternatively, there may be no "great move-out." In that event, expanded household size (also known as "accordion families") may be a long-term phenomenon.

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