The Number of Young Adults Living With Their Parents Hits Record High

More than half of young adults in America are living with one or both parents due to the coronavirus pandemic. That's even higher than was recorded at the end of the Great Depression.

Nearly all age groups have been affected by the coronavirus pandemic, but new research is shedding some more light on just how much young adults are being impacted.

A new study from the Pew Research Center found 52 percent of those 18 to 29 years old were living with one or both parents in July 2020. That’s 26.6 million young adults, a jump of 2.6 million from February. Those 18 to 24 years old made up 2.1 million of the increase.

These numbers are the highest they’ve ever been. “Before 2020, the highest measured value was in the 1940 census at the end of the Great Depression, when 48 percent of young adults lived with their parents. The peak may have been higher during the worst of the Great Depression in the 1930s, but there is no data for that period,” the report says.

Rear view of father and son preparing food in kitchen at new house
Maskot/Getty Images

This all makes sense considering previous findings from the Pew Research Center showed one fourth of those 16 to 24 years old had lost their jobs from February to May due to the outbreak. And in another survey, those 18 to 29 years old said they were more likely than older Americans to have taken a pay cut or lost their jobs during these times.

Other past findings also showed this age group was more likely to move than any other because of COVID-19 with about 1 in 10 saying they had to relocate. Among all U.S. adults who relocated because of the coronavirus pandemic, 23 precent cited college campus closures as the reason while 18 percent blamed it on finances.

The newest report also found racial and ethnic differences of young adults living with parents is narrowing. While white adults have typically been less likely than Black, Asian, and Hispanic adults to live with their parents, this group accounted for the biggest increase. White adults "accounted for about two-thirds (68 percent) of the increase in young adults living with their parents," the report says. "As of July, more than half of Hispanic (58 percent) and Black (55 percent) young adults now live with their parents, compared with about half of white (49 percent) and Asian (51 percent) young adults."

This all brings more attention to just how much young adults are suffering during the pandemic, and that includes their mental health. For example, those 18 to 29 years old showed the highest symptoms of psychological distress, according to a survey conducted in April 2020 by researchers at the Johns Hopkins Bloomberg School of Public Health and the SNF Agora Institute at Johns Hopkins University.

“We need to prepare for higher rates of mental illness among U.S. adults post-COVID,” Beth McGinty, Ph.D., associate professor in the Bloomberg School’s Department of Health Policy and Management, said in a statement. “It is especially important to identify mental illness treatment needs and connect people to services, with a focus on groups with high psychological distress including young adults, adults in low-income households, and Hispanics.”

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