Given that unemployment has been steadily decreasing, it’d be safe to assume that all the 20-somethings who went back to living with their parents during the recession would be moving out again. Wrong. Statistics now indicate 21.6 million people between 18 and 31 are staying at home or moving back in.

According to Derek Thompson at The Atlantic, there’s a threefold explanation behind these statistics: jobs, bachelors and bachelor’s degrees.

The economic climate, though slightly improved, has left a number of 20-somethings unemployed or working part-time jobs. About 55 percent of young people living with their parents are unemployed.

Then there’s the fact that, not only are people more willing to remain at home and save up while they’re single, but they’re also less likely to jump into marriage because of the instability created by the recession.

Lastly, thanks to the official government definition of “home,” a college dormitory is also considered living at home. Thus, some studies, including the Pew Research Report titled “A Rising Share of Young Adults Live in Their Parents’ Home,” now show the numbers of young people under their parents’ roof before and after the recession to be quite high. This is, however, also indicative of the fact that more people are attending college.

Thompson chooses to look on the bright side of this wave:

Higher unemployment, more people going to college, and more single people explain most of the change. But research found that there was even an increase within all three groups, as well. Maybe they were all affecting each other. Or perhaps a fourth factor — general unease about the future? a gradual normalization of twentysomethings living with their parents? — is at play.

But the most important takeaway is that, although the Great Recession was nothing but a tragedy, the rise in young people living at home isn’t quite as tragic. It’s partially a reflection of more young people going to school and saving money before starting a family of their own.

To read more about this trend and take a look at the Pew Research Report’s charts, click here.

—Posted by Natasha Hakimi


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