U.S. Census data confirms that 58 percent of young adults ages 18 to 24 now reside with parents, grandparents or a guardian.

WASHINGTON, D.C. – Everybody knows that stories about hordes of young adults moving back to their parents’ homes are just a myth, right?


The U.S. Census Bureau has confirmed that 58 percent of American young adults in ages 18 to 24 lived with their parents in 2021, according to public information officer Frances Alonzo.

The Pew Research Center concurs with that estimate, saying that young adults in the United States are more likely to be living with at least one of their parents now than at any time since the Great Depression.

Some demographers making a cursory examination of that trend are inclined to attribute those young adults’ return to their childhood homes to be motivated by job losses during the coronavirus pandemic.

But Census data indicates that about 35 percent of young adults ages 18 to 34 lived with at least one parent, grandparent or former guardian in 2019, prior to the pandemic.

The percent of young adults sheltering at home varies greatly from state-to-state.

Here in Utah, for example, only about 27 percent of young people ages 18 to 34 are nesting in their former homes.

By comparison, in states like New Jersey, Florida and California the percentage of young nesters are all greater than 40 percent.

Population analysts suggest that many young adults decide to live with their parents because they cannot afford a home or are saving money to buy a home in the future.

They also cite financial pressure from student loan debt or job losses due to the pandemic as motivating factors.

High unemployment rates in states with high percentages of young nesters seem to confirm that speculation. In March of 2021, for example, the unemployment rate in New Jersey was 7.8 percent; in Florida, it was 5.3 percent; and 8.2 percent in California.

By contrast, the statewide unemployment rate in Utah has hovered around 2 percent for much of 2021 and numerous counties, including Cache County, have hit unemployment rates of 1.5 or lower.

Census data also indicates that young married couples are less likely to reside with their parents, especially if both of them are working.

Young adults in Utah are more likely to be married than their contemporaries nationwide.

The median age for Utahns to be married for the first time is 25.6 years. That’s the lowest median in any state, compared to a national median of 29.4 years.

Statistics about young adults returning to their former homes were derived from data collected by the Census Bureau’s annual America’s Families and Living Arrangements study.

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