Why Are So Many Young Adults Still Living At Home?

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Shorter Version

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Did you know that as recently as 2019, there were 3.4 million young adults still living at home with their parents?

How Many People Live at Home?

Almost a million more young adults live at home with their parents now than were 20 years ago. In fact, for the first time in 139 years, the preferred living arrangement for young adults is with their parents. In 2019, approximately 26% of young adults, between the ages of 18 and 34, still resided under their parents’ roof. Comparatively, during the 60s, most young adults lived with a partner/spouse (60%) with only 20% living at home with their parents.

What Does It All Mean?

It means that for the first time, it’s more popular to live with your parents than a partner. Why? Well, according to recent studies, the main reasons Millennials and the Generation Z population haven’t left home are:

  1. Still single or unmarried
  2. Unable to physically care for themselves
  3. Afraid to leave home and the potential of failure
  4. Still in school (college, grad school, or medical school)
  5. Belong to super tight-knit families
  6. Simply don’t want to move out
  7. Unemployed or don’t make enough on their current job(s) to live independently


Today, young adults go to college later, getting jobs later, marry later, and start a family later. This means they are also leaving home later – way later than previous generations like Generation X and Baby Boomers. However, studies suggest the majority of young adults still live at home because they simply can’t afford to move out. In other words, they can’t afford the cost of living in their cities or states. Others are still at home because they were once married but are now divorced.

Tips and Advice for Young Adults Still Living at Home

The purpose of this article is to highlight why there are so many young people still living at home with their parents and offer some realistic tips on how to “safely” leave the nest.

In the 60s, approximately 70% of young Americans over the age of 18 were married; today only 35% are. This signals a sharp decline in non-parental, romantic cohabitation, and a dramatic increase in singledom.

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Actionable Steps


Discuss it with your parents in advance.

If you’re thinking of moving out of your parents’ home, discuss it with them before you actually move out. Don’t be that person – you know, the one who blindsides their parents with life-altering news the day before (or even the week before) your BIG move. Why not? Well, because it will backfire on you and trigger some intense emotions from your parents. So don’t do that.
When you talk it over with your parents, you give them a chance to share their wisdom (wanted and unwanted)—but most of all, it makes them feel included and needed. The worst thing for a parent is to feel like your adult kids don’t need you anymore. So, listen to your parents’ suggestions on finances, homes, etc., smile, think about it, and then do what’s best for you.


Develop a reasonable budget and work on establishing credit.

A few months before you move out, you’ll need to do two things – (1) develop a reasonable budget and (2) work on establishing credit. Take into account how much it will cost to purchase a house or rent an apartment each month.

How can you determine the price if you haven’t selected a residence yet? By researching pricey, moderate-costing, and low-cost residences and adding the highest rental or mortgage costs into your budget. If you plan for the more expensive homes or apartments but end up with a moderate or low-cost one, you’ll have more money than you expected leftover each month. Also, pay attention to your past bank statements to get a good idea of how much you actually take home each month. That matters when doing a budget.
Then, estimate how much you spend on entertainment – movies, dinner dates, bowling, putt-putt, parties, concerts, festivals, Netflix and Hulu, cable, internet, etc. Don’t forget to add money for shopping, groceries, utilities, car payment and insurance, and gas. 
During this time, you’ll also need to establish or improve your credit score. Plus, regardless of where you live (house, apartment, condo, or townhome), your landlord or lender will check your credit score. FYI: Some landlords and lenders will not rent or sell to young adults, with no or low credit scores.
So, you may want to talk to a financial advisor or credit repair rep before you start looking for a place to live. Landlords and lenders check your credit score because it helps them decide if they should take a risk on you, if they should give you a loan, or if they should allow you to live on their property. Are you financially responsible? Will you pay your rent or mortgage on time? Do you have a stable job? Is there anyone who can vouch for your character?
Your credit score can also affect your employment, making it more difficult to snag higher-paying jobs. Employers use credit scores to determine what type of worker you will be—they may pass you up if you don’t have good credit or no credit at all. If you establish your credit or improve your credit score, you’ll have more options to choose from when selecting your first home.


Save your money.

Lastly, you’ll want to start saving your moola (money) at least three to six months in advance (before you move out). This will let you have a sizable nest egg when you’re finally out on your own. More specifically, it will give you time to adjust to living on your own, without stressing over how you’re going to pay that mountain of “adult” bills.
Another benefit? If you lose your job or are laid-off unexpectedly, you’ll have enough money until you can snag another job. Start by opening a savings account and putting any money left over from paying your current bills into it for safe-keeping. Do not touch the money in the savings account unless it’s an emergency – like a medical procedure, delinquent bills, a sick pet, a health condition, etc. Saving up in advance will give you peace of mind when you finally leave the nest.
While putting money away for your BIG move, don’t forget to also put some of that moola into a “rainy day fund.” This fund is for the unforeseen things that will definitely pop up – new tires and a battery for your car or truck, an air conditioner that goes out in August, or a heater that goes out in the middle of a snowstorm.


Read the longer version.

You can learn more about why there are so many young adults still living at home, millennials living with their parents, and how to leave the nest if you are a young adult by reading the following articles: How to Move Out of Your Parents’ House by Bellhops, Why Are So Many Millennials Still Living at Home by Mother Jones, and Why Do So Many Adults Still Live With Their Parents by Fast Company.

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About the Author

Dr. R. Y. Langham

Dr. R. Y. Langham

Ph.D. in Family Psychology

Ree has a Master’s in Marriage and Family Therapy (M.M.F.T.) and a Ph.D. in Family Psychology. She spent over ten years counseling families, couples, individuals, and children on adjustment issues such as blended families, same-sex couples, dysfunctional family relationships, relationship issues, etc. Now she writes for famous health organizations and is a published author.
Full Bio | LinkedIn

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