Yesterday, the Pew Research Center returned to the headlines, with a detailed analysis of another disturbing trend. You know something big is happening when you start breaking records going back to the 19th century.
The year 2014 appears to be a milestone in the unfolding living arrangements of the nation’s young adults. For the first time since 1880, young adults are more likely to be living with a parent than they are to be living with a romantic partner in their own household. In 2014, 32.1% of 18- to 34-year-olds lived in their parents’ home, eclipsing the 31.6% of young adults who were married or cohabiting and living in their own separate dwelling. Prior to 2014 the most common living arrangement for young adults was to be in a romantic coupling (either married or cohabiting) living in their own household.
This turn of events is fueled primarily by the dramatic drop in the share of young Americans who are choosing to settle down romantically before age 35. Dating back to 1880, the most common living arrangement among young adults has been living with a romantic partner, whether a spouse or a significant other. This type of arrangement peaked around 1960, when 62% of the nation’s 18- to 34-year-olds were living with a spouse or partner in their own household, and only one-in-five were living with their parents.
By 2014, 31.6% of young adults were living with a spouse or partner in their own household, below the share living in the home of their parent(s) (32.1%).