April 29, 2013

The Recession Didn't Really Cause Everyone to Move Into Their Parents Basements

One of the news stories that I've seen about the Great Recession is that more young people age 18+ have moved back into their parents homes.      Such as this Washington Post article Census: Everybody’s moving into their parents’ basements
 There are generally more people living with their parents than say 10 years ago.   But the upward trend was started before the recession and there wasn't a huge spike after the recession.   Also the percent of young people age 18-24 who now live with their parents is actually still lower than the rate it was back through the 1980's and 1990s.   

Here's an interesting chart from the Census showing this:

I got that out of a Census report.    Notice that the upward trend was starting back around 2005 which was well before the recession.  The purple bit just after the recession increased at about the same slope as before hand.   The numbers are pretty high as you can see but this is a combination of things including a large number of adults who are still in college and reside at their parents homes officially. 

Now if you look at that same report and go back to the first page you'll see that Figure 1 shows the % of people aged 25-34 who are living with their parents.   That group has increased since the Great Recession and is higher now than in previous decades.  

For that age group the numbers are in fact up and now higher than previous.   However the % isn't too substantial.  Its not as if 70% or 50% or any high amount of adults age 25-34 are living in their parents homes.    It hasn't even broken the 20% level.

Now those numbers are from 2011 at the latest but Census figures do tend to lag some and those are the most recent that I can find.  I doubt that the trend has increased significantly since 2011.



  1. Wouldn't you say the 25 - 34 crew is a bit scarier? That could be graduates with a Graduate Degree, even on the low end of the range.

    The other issue: multiple children. If you've got 3 or 4 children, it only takes one basement dweller for you to get negative ideas about the economy.

  2. Oh yeah its certainly a concern that more people in that 25-34 age group aren't living on their own. By that age people should have the time to become self sufficient and not need to reply on their parents. But still the recent change related to the recession is just up a couple percentage points. So its not a gigantic increase. Some people seem to act like literally "everyone" is moving into their parents houses. That Washington Post article I linked to has that as its title "Everybody’s moving into their parents’ basements" Of course I assume they don't mean that literally but the actual increase isn't even in the same ballpark for 25-34 year olds and the rate for 18-24 year olds is not unusual today compared to previous decades.

    I returned to the 'nest' myself after I graduated college. Its not like its all that unusual or a sign of some abysmal failure or economic collapse.



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