Study: 52% of young adults forced to move back in with parents amid COVID-19

A crippled economy and dwindling job market for college graduates has rendered many young adults powerless to the rippling effects of the COVID-19 pandemic, forcing them to move back in with their parents, according to a study by the Pew Research Center.

“The share of 18- to 29-year-olds living with their parents has become a majority since U.S. coronavirus cases began spreading early this year, surpassing the previous peak during the Great Depression era,” the study stated.

The study highlighted that 52% of young adults were living with their parents as of July, which is up 47 percent since February.

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“It is worth noting that in these Current Population Survey numbers, unmarried students who reside in on-campus college dorms are counted as living in their family home, so any increase in young adults living with parents this year would not be due to the pandemic-related closure of college dorms in the spring,” the study disclosed.

The number of young adults living with their parents “grew across the board,” according to the study. This included all major races and ethnicities, men and women, those living in metropolitan and rural areas, and all four main census regions.

“Growth was sharpest for the youngest adults (ages 18 to 24) and for White young adults,” the study stated.

Pew Research Center determined the number of young adults living with their parents in 2020 is the highest since the 1940 census, towards the end of the Great Depression.

During the Great Depression, 48 percent of young adults were living with their parents. That declined in the 1950s and 1960s, according to the study.

The study detailed that about 1-in-10, which is about 9%, of young adults said they moved due to the pandemic, and about 10% had another person move in with them. Among the total surveyed, 23% said that the main reason they had to make these changes was due to their college campuses closing and about 18% said it was because they had lost their jobs or other financial reasons, according to the study.

“The youngest adults have been more likely than other age groups to lose their jobs or take a pay cut,” the study continued. “The share of 16- to 24-year-olds who are neither enrolled in school nor employed more than doubled from February (11%) to June (28%) due to the pandemic and consequent economic downturn.”

While it is normal for there to be a slight increase in young adults going to live with their parents, for example, when college finals are over and students move back in with their parents for the summer, the study added, it is usually only a small increase (less than 2%).

This year, “the increase was much sharper — more than 5 points.”

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Typically, Asian, Black and Hispanic populations are more likely to live with their parents as young adults and well into their adulthood due to cultural factors, which is not normally seen in White young adults, according to the study.

Since February, however, that gap has narrowed with Whites accounting for about 68% of the increase, the study revealed.

“As of July, more than half of Hispanic (58%) and Black (55%) young adults now live with their parents, compared with about half of White (49%) and Asian (51%) young adults,” the study said.

Despite the number of men and women moving in with their parents increasing for both genders, it was highlighted in the study that mostly men were more likely to live with their parents.

The sharp growth in young adults moving in with their parents or other people could have a significant impact on the housing market and overall economic growth, according to the Pew Research Center.

“Even before the outbreak, the growth in new households trailed population growth, in part because people were moving in with others. Slower household growth could mean less demand for housing and household goods. There also may be a decline in the number of renters and homeowners, and in overall housing activity,” the study stated.

Between February and July 2020, the number of households with owners between 18- to 29 years of age declined by 1.9 million, with the total decreasing from 15.8 million to 13.9 million, according to the Pew Research Center.

According to a June study done by Zillow, “the housing market itself can’t help but be impacted by this huge influx of adults moving back with mom/dad or grandma/grandpa.”

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“The large majority (76%, or roughly 10 million) of the 18- to 25-year-olds who do not live with a parent are renters, responsible for approximately $6 billion dollars per month in gross rent,” according to Zillow.

Zillow said that because of the gradual fall of younger people entering the housing market, as well as the recent sharp decline due to the pandemic, “roughly $726 million per month” could potentially leave the rental market.

U.S. unemployment dropped sharply in August from 10.2% to a still-high 8.4%, with about half the 22 million jobs lost to the coronavirus outbreak recovered so far, the government said Friday in one of the last major economic reports before Election Day.

Employers added 1.4 million jobs last month, down from 1.7 million in July and the fewest since hiring resumed in May. And an increasingly large share of Americans reported that their jobs are gone for good, according to the Labor Department report.

Altogether, that was seen by economists as evidence that further improvement is going to be sluggish and uneven.

As Congress stays deadlocked on a new coronavirus relief package and the country continues to spiral down into economic turmoil, many states are growing frustrated by the uncertainty the COVID-19 pandemic was brought upon them.

Spending cuts to schools, childhood vaccinations and job-training programs. New taxes on millionaires, cigarettes and legalized marijuana. Borrowing, drawing from rainy day funds and reducing government workers' pay.

These are some actions states are considering to shore up their finances amid a sharp drop in tax revenue caused by the economic fallout from the pandemic.

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As the U.S. Senate returns to session Tuesday, some governors and state lawmakers are again urging action on proposals that could provide hundreds of billions of additional dollars to states and local governments.

The Associated Press Contributed to this report.