Was the Great Recession Unique? Young Adults Living with Parents during Economic Downturns, 1967-2013

Jonathan Vespa, U.S. Census Bureau
Laryssa Mykyta, U.S. Census Bureau

Since the Great Recession (2007–2009), there is a widespread belief that young adults are returning to their parents’ home in record number. Did prior recessions similarly lead to an increase in living with parents? Using the Current Population Survey (1967–2013) we model historical changes in the population of 25–34 year olds who lived in the parental home. Besides individual characteristics, we explore the role of population-level factors such as unemployment rates, housing costs, and growth in the Boomer and Millennial cohorts, owing that population pressures may explain historical trends. To this end we use decomposition analysis to calculate period differences that are attributable to changing economic effects of recessions and to changing population pressures. Preliminary results suggest that increases in living with parents over the last 40 years are largely attributable to population growth and delays in marriage, and not the changing size or effect of unemployment rates across recessions.

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 Presented in Session 233. Baby Boomers and Millennials after the Great Recession