Why Young Adults Are Living With Parents 

In the past couple of years, we have seen a trend of young people living with their parents longer. We explore why this is the case, what it means for society, and how parents should react to the situation to best support their children.    

The world has changed significantly over the past few years. Society has shifted in nearly every way possible. This isn’t just because of the global pandemic, but in terms of economics, technological advancement, and even how people now carry out the most basic, everyday tasks.  

One notable change that has occurred in the past few years is that historic levels of young adults are living at home with their parents. At one point in 2020, nearly 52% of young adults aged between 18-29 lived at home, the highest percentage since the Great Depression.  

In 2022, this number is closer to 47%, we are still looking at a trend of young adults staying at home longer in comparison to previous eras. While there are slight differences in these percentages across race and gender, virtually every demographic category has seen an uptick in young people living with parents.     

Factors Responsible For Children Returning Home  

The trend of young adults moving home can be attributed to several factors, with two primary motivating factors. One of these is the government's response to the global pandemic.  

The pandemic was influential in keeping young people home due to general safety concerns, but it also forced many young adults in college to return home. Classes were moved online.  

Young adults, who are already more uncertain about what career they want to pursue and where they want to live, decide to stay in the security of the parental nest. The pandemic created conditions where the decision to live at home was sensible rather than a sign of failure to launch.   

The second major reason for young adults living at home is that they were working low-paying service industry jobs. When the pandemic was at its peak in 2020, many young people found themselves out of a job.  

If they were not let go or furloughed by a company, they may have been forced to take a pay cut or work reduced hours. Many young people turned to government assistance, living off unemployment benefits, and the stimulus checks that were passed in 2020 and 2021.  

All of this resulted in a high unemployment rate. As a result of these situations, both employed and unemployed young people saw the benefit of saving the money normally going to rent and other expenses.  

Many have decided to stay living at home with their parents even after the worst of the pandemic is over to be more secure – which is wise considering that young people are those most impacted by unemployment. Even if they did have a job in a non-service sector field, there was still a good chance that they would be first to be fired per the “first in, first out” approach to human resource management or want to use the remote work environment to save money for a new home in an inflated housing market.    

Resurgence Of A Historical Trend  

Historical trends are important for interpreting young people's decision to move home and stay there for long periods. One study shows a sharp decline in young adults staying at home during the 1940s and early 1950s.  

Back then, co-habitation patterns were similar to those of today. The reason for that then was the Great Depression and World War II.  

Although we are currently not living through a World War, the data shows that during times of upheaval and uncertainty – families tend to get closer together. When the tension in society eases, such as during the late 1950s, young people are more likely to leave home.   

It's also worth noting here that what journalists now describe as a novel indicator of American economic difficulties via allusion to the Great Depression is in fact common in Latin American and Asian cultures. In those cultures, it is very frequent for children to live with parents well past the college years to help give them a financial advantage. Ownership of a house is, after all, a part of the American dream, and children giving money to landlords for rent functions to delay their ability to save and purchase a home.    

Significance For Parents  

Although some point to the trend of young adults staying at home as a negative, there are plenty of benefits to this development. From a societal point of view, one of the biggest positives that could come out of young people staying at home longer is economic stability.  

When children do finally leave home oftentimes, their decisions can backfire leading to financial instability necessary. Children staying or returning home can also be a positive experience for them to mature with greater conscientiousness.  

Although they may have freedom as a legal adult, it is still an effective parent’s job to monitor their process and ensure that the transition to adulthood is going well. This is an important phase in a young person’s life and building an understanding of the person your child is becoming.  

This is crucial for a parent to foster a strong relationship with them into their adult life. Your child may have complex feelings about staying at home given they are chasing their own goals, hence it is important to give them as much distance as necessary, while still supporting them in their new pursuits.    


As the pandemic and its associated side effects begin to subside, historic trends would point to the idea that this trend could die down in the near future, similar to how it did in the 1950s. It is also important to note that we are in an entirely new world that is now immersed in a wave of technology.  

Therefore it is difficult to predict how long our young adults will be living at home. Whether you are currently the parent of a young person living at home or anticipate that you could be in the near future, trends like this are worth monitoring and having an understanding of in order to set your child up for success.