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More Education Means Less Chance of Living with Mom and Dad

Tue Nov 25 2014
Written by: Ellyn Arevalo Steidl, David Ihrke and Jonathan Vespa
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Our last blog on young adults looked at trends over the last 40 years of young adults living with their parents. Today we take a closer look at this group and try to answer the question: Are young college grads moving back in with their parents?

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The data shows a relationship between young adults’ education and living with parents. A quarter of 25- to 34-year-olds who have a college degree live in the parental home (see figure 1), while 44 percent of those with only a high school diploma live at home.

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For young adults who can’t afford to live on their own, moving in with a parent may offer a kind of safety net. (Note that the data also include some young adults who were already living with their parents and moved to a new address with them.) In 2013, young adults living with a parent were more likely to say that they had moved in because they lost their job or were looking for work, or experienced a change in their marital status. Between 2009 and 2012, in the aftermath of the Great Recession, moving because of a job loss was cited more than twice as often by young adults living with a parent than by those living on their own (see figure 2).

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Marriage may also have been a factor. In 2010, there was a spike in young adults who reported a change in marital status as the reason for moving in with a parent (see figure 2). Most of these people, 65 percent, were either divorced or separated. In contrast, most of their peers who were living independently and had moved because of a change in marital status did so because they were getting married (74 percent).

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Overall, young adults who live with a parent typically have less education and fewer economic resources than those who live independently. These patterns challenge the idea of college grads who move back home to avoid living on their own. Instead, family may be a safety net that helps protect against the economic shocks that often accompany job loss and divorce.

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And, don’t forget next week you’ll be able to see more characteristics of young adults for your community with the newest release of the Census Bureau’s American Community Survey.

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