Bloomberg News

No More Home Alone as Economy Drives Men to Live With Parents

November 09, 2011

(For more stories on the census, TOP CENS.)

Nov. 4 (Bloomberg) -- For a growing number of young American men, the childhood bedroom is the new bachelor pad.

The percentage of men 25 to 34 years old who live with their parents has increased by almost a third during the past five years, data from the U.S. Census Bureau show. The economic downturn has accelerated that trend for young men, while women continue to be less likely to bunk with their parents.

Since 2006, the year before the recession began, the percentage of young men living with their parents has grown to 18.6 percent this year from 14.3 percent. Just 9.7 percent of women in that age group now live with their parents, up from 8.8 percent in 2006.

“It’s a way to save money and survive the hardship,” said Qian Cai, director of the Demographics and Workforce Group at the University of Virginia’s Weldon Cooper Center for Public Service.

Young women traditionally have left the house before men because they marry at a younger age. That reason may be changing: Now more women than men are getting college educations so they may be less likely to be unemployed or lose jobs, Cai said.

Since the beginning of last year, the unemployment rate for women between 25 and 34 averaged 9.1 percent, compared with 10.4 percent for men in this age group.

Generous Parents

On the flip side, parents may also be more generous than they used to be. “They have more resources than earlier generations, so they can help out more,” Cai said.

In the past year, the proportion of 25- to 34-year-old men living with parents jumped 2.2 percentage points, while the number of women in that age group staying or moving back home didn’t change significantly, the Census Bureau said.

While the trend is a reflection of the sluggish economy, there may be other reasons, said Cheryl Russell, a demographer in Beaufort, South Carolina, and editorial director of New Strategist Publications.

“Women mature at a younger age so they are probably more able to hold down a job and pay the rent,” she said. “Men sort of thrash around a bit.”

--Editors: Mark McQuillan, Flynn McRoberts.

To contact the reporter on this story: Catherine Dodge in Washington at cdodge1@bloomberg.net

To contact the editor responsible for this story: Mark Silva at msilva34@bloomberg.net


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