Thanks to COVID, a Living Situation Not Seen Since Great Depression

More than half of young American adults are living with one or both of their parents
By Jenn Gidman,  Newser Staff
Posted Sep 4, 2020 12:59 PM CDT
Most Young Adults Are Now Back With Parents: Pew
Here to stay?   (Getty Images/XiXinXing)

Not since the beginning of World War II have there been so many young adults shacking up with their parents—and COVID-19 is to blame. Per a Pew Research Center analysis of monthly Census Bureau stats, 24.2 million young adults ages 18 to 29—47% of that US demographic—lived with one or both of their parents in February. By July, that number had jumped to 26.6 million, or 52%. The biggest spike came in the 18-to-24 group, and among white young adults, though both young men and women from all major racial and ethnic groups, and from both cities and rural areas, saw an increase. The highest that percentage had reached before this was in 1940, at the end of the Great Depression, when 48% of young adults were stuck at home with Mom and/or Dad. (Pew notes it may have risen even higher during the Great Depression, but data wasn't recorded then.)

That percentage had dropped as low as 29% around 1960 before starting to creep up again. The Atlantic notes that, before the pandemic, living at home with one's parents as a post-high school young adult often got a bad rap, often coming with the stigmas of laziness and irresponsibility. Now, the magazine says, "perhaps the pandemic is an occasion—an unwelcome one, sure—to reappraise a living arrangement that is often maligned." WTOP offers tips on how parents can offer support to children who are at home instead of college. "You don't want to micromanage their every move," a Kaiser Permanente social worker tells the station. "Sit down and talk with your transitional-age young adult and ask them what they need from you." More here on how this COVID-era situation affects the family dynamic. (Read more coronavirus stories.)

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