Fewer college grads emerging from parents’ homes, study says

May 31, 2016
Clark University research professor of psychology Jeffrey Jensen Arnett
Clark research professor of psychology Jeffrey Jensen Arnett

You've graduated from college, you're ready to take on the world and, according to new research, you may be doing so from your old bedroom at your parents' house.

A Pew Research Center analysis of 2014 U.S. Census Bureau data released last week found people ages 18 to 34 were more likely to be living in a parent's home rather than living with a spouse or partner in their own home. It's the first time in 130 years — since this information began to be reliably collected in the 1880 Census — this has happened, which the center says is likely caused by fewer people choosing to couple up.

Clark research professor of psychology Jeffrey Jensen Arnett, who coined the term "emerging adulthood" and has conducted the Clark Poll of Emerging Adults for each of the last four years told Bloomberg he’s seen "an increasing acceptance that it takes longer to grow up than it used to."

"There’s a lot of good will between parents and children in this generation," he continued.

Historically, the data finds the percentage of young adults living with parents in 2014 — 32.1 percent — isn't the peak. That happened in 1940 when 35 percent of 18- to 34-year olds held that living arrangement. However, that year more people — 46 percent — were also married or cohabitating in their own household compared to 31.6 percent in 2014.

In addition to Bloomberg, the Pew analysis and Arnett's expertise on emerging adults have been featured in multiple publications including The Washington PostBroadly and Cosmopolitan