News & Opinion | September 8, 2020 12:26 pm

More Young Adults Are Living at Home With Their Parents Now Than During the Great Depression

During the pandemic, everyone is returning to the nest

three movers unloading carboard boxes
Thanks to the pandemic, more young people are packing up and moving back in with their parents.
Getty Images/Xixinxing

Now is not really a great time to be anyone (with the exception of Jeff Bezos), but it is particularly not a great time to be a young person. From the recent college grads entering the job market during a pandemic to the millennials now facing a second financial crisis after coming of age in a recession, young adults have taken a major hit during the COVID-19 era, and for many of them, that’s meant moving back in with mom and dad.

A new report from the Pew Research Center found that 52 percent of young adults between 18 and 29 in the U.S. were living at home with one or both parents in July, which is a higher percentage than has ever been recorded. The last time the number of young adults living with parents approached these heights was during the Great Depression, when the 1940 census found 48 percent of young adults were living at home.

“Before 2020, the highest measured value was in the 1940 census at the end of the Great Depression, when 48 percent of young adults lived with their parents,” says the report, adding that while the peak may have been higher at an earlier point during the Great Depression, there is no data for that time period.

According to Pew, 26.6 million young adults were living with parents in July, an increase of 2.6 million from February, with the sharpest spike among the youngest adults between 18 and 24.

“The number and share of young adults living with their parents grew across the board for all major racial and ethnic groups, men and women, and metropolitan and rural residents, as well as in all four main census regions,” the report says. And while, in the past, white young adults have been less likely to live at home than their Asian, Black and Hispanic counterparts, Pew’s most recent findings suggest a growing number of white young adults are returning to the nest amid the pandemic.

“That gap has narrowed since February as the number of White young adults living with their mothers and/or fathers grew more than for other racial and ethnic groups,” says the report.

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