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Back to 1880? Why so many Millennials are living at home

For the first time since at least 1880, more people between the ages of 18 and 34 live with their parents than romantic partners.

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    Members of a graduating class and faculty attend the Savannah College of Art and Design commencement in Atlanta. For the first time on record, living with parents is now the most common arrangement for Americans ages 18 to 34, an analysis of Census data by the Pew Research Center has found.
    John Amis/AP/File
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Young adults between the ages of 18 and 34 are choosing to live with their parents rather than in any other kind of living situation for the first time since record keeping began in 1880.

A new report by the Pew Research Center shows that just over 32 percent of Millennials live with their parents, while just under 32 percent live with romantic partners.

Experts say that this demographic shift can likely be attributed to changing life priorities in the Millennial generation.

"They're concentrating more on school, careers and work and less focused on forming new families, spouses or partners and children," the lead author of the report, Richard Fry, told the Associated Press.

One highly significant factor, according to experts, is the decline of marriage as a priority for young people, particularly since the Great Recession. Among those without a four year college degree, marriage rates are even lower than among degree holders.

"We've simply got a lot more singles," said Mr. Fry. "They're the group much more likely to live with their parents."

As of 2014, just 31.6 of the 18- to 34-year-old demographic were married or living with a romantic partner. Only 14 years before, in 2000, 43 percent of the 18- through 34-year-old demographic were living with a spouse or partner.

Last year, The Christian Science Monitor reported on the same phenomenon.

According to the Monitor, 2013 was the first year in which there were more unmarried American adults than married adults. Young people are getting married at older ages, as well, increasing the age at which young people are likely to move out of their parents' homes.

"Marriage still remains a highly valued state," Andrew Cherlin of Johns Hopkins University told the Monitor in 2015. "It just doesn't play as large a role in people’s lives as it used to."

The changing demographics of residency not only impact young people, but older adults as well. A survey by the real estate brokerage firm Redfin found that one fifth of adults between 55 and 64 have adult children living at home, preventing them from downsizing for retirement.

And without older couples downsizing for retirement, there is a lack of housing on the market, driving up real estate prices and making it even harder for already cash strapped Millennials to purchase starter homes, Redfin economist Nela Richardson told the Associated Press.

There are other factors that could be keeping adults between 18 and 34 in their childhood bedrooms, as well.

Some experts say that rising rent prices (rents rose at double digit rates in several popular cities last year), student debt, and longer undergraduate tenures could also play a role in keeping young people at home, although residency with parents is also high among those with only a high school degree.

This report contains material from the Associated Press.

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