A third of US millennials still live at home, census report finds

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young man on sofaImage source, AFP
Image caption,
More young men than young women are still living at home

This may not surprise anyone aged 18-34 but according to US Census data, if you're in that age bracket, your life differs wildly from your parents.

Gone are the steady jobs and home ownership of yore.

Gone too is married life - more 18-34 year-olds live with their parents than with a spouse.

The US Census Bureau report found that the extent to which young people reached milestones like living alone was "tied to economic security".

But some of their expectations of what it means to be an adult have changed.

In these hard economic times, then, about a third of millennials still live at home with their parents.

Last year, research found it was the most common living arrangement for young adults - for the first time in 130 years.

There are 24 million 18-34-year-olds, among whom there are more men than women. And of them, 2.2. million are not studying or working.

Some of those who stay at home have disabilities or poor health, but it seems many are just priced out of moving out.

Weirdly, though, this study counts college dorms as being "at home". Maybe because they think it's parents who pay for that?

The study compared the 18-34 year old age group with young adults in 1975, their parents' generation.

Image source, Getty Images

So what's changed between then and now? A few things:

Marriage rates

Back then, eight in 10 people were married by 30. Now, young people wait longer. By the age of 45, eight in 10 are married too.

Maybe it's because they don't see family as a marker of adulthood in the way their parents might have done; more than half of young Americans today say marrying and having children are not very important for becoming an adult.

The state where young people were most likely to be living in their own household was North Dakota, where 60% of young people were living alone or with a partner or spouse.

Emphasis on education

Millennials these days believe in getting a good education. More than 60% said finishing school was very important for becoming an adult.

Women are much more likely to have jobs

More women work outside the home nowadays - it's one of the biggest changes highlighted in the report. Only 14% of 25-34 year-old women are homemakers now, compared to 43% in 1975.

This change drove an overall boost; young people today are more likely to be employed year-round than their parents were at the same age.

But men's incomes have fallen

Only a quarter of men had low incomes in 1975 (annual salaries of less than $30,000 - £23,500 - in 2015 money). But by 2015, that had risen to 41%. The study's authors said men were "falling behind" and, compared to 1975, were "more likely to be absent from the work force and a far higher share today are at the bottom of the income ladder.

It's worth bearing in mind though, that young men's median income is still $11,000 (£8,500) a year higher than women's.

What is a millennial anyway?

Good question. This study says it counts "people born between 1982 and 1998, which roughly corresponds to the millennial generation". A guide to the generation was published for MPs in the UK last week, and it called them people who "would have experienced at least some, if not all, of their teenage years and early adulthood in the 21st Century".

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