Younger Americans Living at Home Near All-Time High


A new study by the Pew Research Center shows that 64 million people, or 20% of the American public, live in multi-generational households. The study, based Pew analysis of census data, shows the number of people living in a home with more than one adult generation has grown since 2009. That year, the number of individuals living in a multi-generational household was 51.5 million people, or 17% of the population.

The number of people living in multi-generational homes was 21% in 1950. It fell to a low of 12% in 1980. The rebound in individuals living at home came about during and right after the Great Recession in the late 2000s.

The study defines multi-generational households as those in which at least two adult generations of family, including grandparents, grandchildren or great grandparents, live.

Many believe that poor financial prospects, along with lack of experience of supporting one’s self, is playing a role in the change in American’s living conditions.

“I think the younger generation is more likely to do this because they are not educated about what it takes to be ‘on their own,’” says 23-year-old mother Kirstie Berdega. “They enjoy the safety net they’ve grown up with and without it they simply don’t know how to function.

“I also believe there are some that still live with their family because it is also extremely difficult in some places to live on your own because of minimum wage being way less than the cost of living,” she added. Berdega lives with her in-laws.

Poor financial planning on the part of millennials has also become evident in numbers recently put forth by the National Institute for Retirement Security. According to NIRS, 66% of Americans between the ages of 21-32 have no savings for retirement, a function experts believe of financial constraints put on younger generations that were less pronounced in previous ones.

“I see in practice that a lot of us are putting retirement down the goal priority list, in favor of paying off student debt or buying homes,” said Douglas Boneparth, a certified financial planner and author of The Millennial Money Fix. “I know it will delay your ability to achieve financial independence, but how are you going to tell someone who has a child that saving in a 401(k) is more important than their immediate needs?” he added.

While the data collected by Pew shows that living at home is becoming a reality for every person regardless of ethnicity, it found that Hispanics and Asians are more likely than whites to live in a multi-generational household.

“Growing racial and ethnic diversity in the U.S. population helps explain some of the rise in multi-generational living,” the report stated. “The Asian and Hispanic populations overall are growing more rapidly than the white population, and those groups are more likely than whites to live in multi-generational family households. Another growth factor is that foreign-born Americans are more likely than those born in the U.S. to live with multiple generations of family; Asians and Hispanics are more likely than whites to be immigrants.”

Breaking down the study by age, the results showed that 33% of 25-29-year-olds were now living in a multi-generational household. According to the study, post high school education also makes a huge difference, with students that didn’t go to college being more likely to live at home with their parents then those that went to college and earned a degree.

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