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Census Data Shows You Can Go Home Again, And 1 in 3 Young American Adults Do

TUESDAY, SEP 17, 2019

The number of young adults who live with their parents has exceeded the number of married young adults with their own households – and is close to surpassing the combined total of married and partnered couples, according to a Social Explorer analysis of Census data.

More than 1 of every 3 Americans between the ages of 18 and 34 live with their parents, according to the 2013-17 American Community Survey (ACS); fewer than 1 in 4 live with a spouse. Almost 10 percent live with a partner. Only 7.3 percent of young adults live alone.

The figures reflect the inability of young people to launch their own households because of poor financial prospects stemming from stagnant wages, a rapidly changing job market, enormous college debt, rising health-care costs, and effects of the 2008 housing crisis that are still reverberating throughout the U.S. economy. 

Here's a map by metro of adult children 18-34 who live with parents. Please note: I used the percentage of young adults, i.e., 18-34, as the denominator; the corresponding ACS denominator is the population over 18. Click here to explore further.

Nine places had half or more of young adults living with their parents; the eastern Massachusetts shore micropolitan area of Vineyard Haven led, with 68.2 percent of its 3,008 young adults living with parents. Barnstable, a 45-minute ferry ride from Vineyard Haven, had 48 percent of its 33,464 young adults residing with their parents.

A pair of Florida metros made the list of surprising places with high concentrations of adult children living at home: Punta Gorda and the Miami-Fort Lauderdale-West Palm Beach areas. The Census figures showed 47.8 percent of young adults live with their parents in Punta Gorda, where more than 55 percent of residents are older than 65 and less than 5 percent are younger than 18.

Miami, once derided as “God’s waiting room” for its high concentration of elderly residents, has gotten younger over the last generation. Even so, 45.5 percent of young Americans in the south Florida urban zone live with their parents; only 23 percent live with a spouse or partner.

Other metros with higher-than-expected percentages of young adults living with parents included Atlantic City, N.J. (46.7 percent) and Torrington, Conn. (46.3 percent). 

All of the 10 metros with the highest percentages of married or partnered young adults were located west of the Mississippi River, according to Census data. More than two-thirds of young adults in Junction City, Kan., were either living with a spouse or partner, the highest rate in the nation. Spirit Lake, Iowa, had the second-highest rate of partnered or married young couples (62.6 percent), followed by New Ulm, Minn. (60.6 percent), Sheridan, Wyo. (60 percent), and McPherson, Kan. (59.8 percent).

Likewise, western metros were more likely to have independent young adults. The highest percentage of young adults who lived by themselves was in Jamestown, N.D. (19.3 percent). The South Dakota capital of Pierre trailed, with 18.4 percent, followed by Spencer, Iowa (18.2 percent), Champaign-Urbana, Ill. (16.3 percent), and Moscow, Idaho (15.3 percent).

Author: Frank Bass

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