Adult kids find that there's no place like home when their finances are in a tailspin or their relationships fizzle.
According to a new detailed analysis, the number of young adults ages 20 to 34 who live with their parents has jumped from 17% in 1980 to 24% in 2007-09.
The rise was sharpest among those under 25 — a new high of 43% vs. 32% in 1980 — but it increased largely across the board. Even among 30- to 34-year-olds, nearly one in 10 lived with parents.
"This 'Great Recession' has had tremendous effects that previous smaller recessions did not," says Zhenchao Qian, a sociology professor at Ohio State University and the author of the report for the US2010 Project, which studies trends in American society.
Financial insecurity, coupled with massive student loan debt, has exacerbated another trend that might encourage some to live with their parents: delaying marriage and postponing having children.
"This is a case of families adapting to difficult circumstances," says Paul Taylor, director of the Pew Research Center's Social & Demographic Trends project. "Family is the ultimate social safety net."
Many also return to their parents' homes when marriages end. Among 30- to 34-year-olds who live with their parents, 20% are divorced.