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Millennials Are Moving Back With Mom And Dad

MICHEL MARTIN, HOST:

We're going to take a few minutes now to talk about a new report out about a trend among millennials that's gotten a lot of attention. For the first time in more than a hundred years, younger adults - those aged 18 to 34 - are more likely to be living in their parents homes than with a partner or spouse.

In a few minutes, we're going to talk about this in our Barbershop roundtable. We've pulled together a group of millennials who've been thinking about this. But first, let's talk about the study with Kim Parker, director of social trends at the Pew Research Center, and she helped with the report. Kim, thanks so much for joining us.

KIM PARKER: Thanks so much for having me.

MARTIN: What are some of the factors that are fueling this - that are fueling this? I assume there's more than one.

PARKER: The main driving force is the sort of downward trend in the share of young adults who are married, and part of that is explained by the fact that young adults are marrying later in life. But part of it also has to do with other factors. One is educational attainment.

There are different patterns by race and ethnicity, and there are also some economic factors that are really playing into this and particularly affecting young adults who don't have a college degree. Employment among that group is down and wages are down. And those things make it a lot harder for young people to get out and establish their own households.

MARTIN: The fact of the matter is millennials are probably the most diverse demographic in our history - right? - and so if you come from, say, an immigrant background, it's not considered so terrible to live with your parents. In fact, that's the norm in a lot of cultures. Is that a factor?

PARKER: We do find the rates of young adults living at home, and also more broadly multigenerational households are more common among new immigrants and racial and ethnic minorities. But when you just look at the patterns of what's been going on with whites, you see a similar uptick in the shared living with parents and a downward trend in the share who are marrying or living with romantic partners.

MARTIN: One more question - gender. Do you find that young men or young women are more likely to live with their parents? Is there a difference there?

PARKER: We do find a difference. Young men are more likely than young women to be living with their parents. This actually became the dominant living arrangement in 2009, so they hit the tipping point a few years back.

MARTIN: Why do we think that is? Do we have any idea why that is?

PARKER: Overall, employment rates among young men are down significantly in recent decades, and wages have also fallen a lot especially for young men without a college education.

But one thing that was really interesting for the young women was that, you know, a few decades ago, like 1960, 1970, young women who were employed were actually more likely to be living at home because they were a lot less likely to marry. But then things changed and married women started entering the workforce in bigger numbers, and then, you know, you see a different pattern.

MARTIN: That's Kim Parker, director of social trends at the Pew Research Center. Kim, thanks so much for speaking with us.

PARKER: Thank you so much. Transcript provided by NPR, Copyright NPR.