The percentage of young adults that live with their parents is higher now than at any time since the Great Depression of the 1930s. Almost one in two now live with parents.
The inability of young people to form their own households is a long-term negative for American society.
Moving out of one’s parent’s home is an important marker on the road to independent adulthood.
But today, young people are finding it difficult to strike out on their own.
Young people were harder hit than older Americans from job and income losses from the COVID lockdowns. Now they’re facing an unstable job market, the hangover from the high cost of college and student debt, and falling income in real terms.
However, the biggest barrier to independent living is probably sky-high rental and housing prices.
Marriage and family are for most people a source of personal happiness and a fulfilling life.
The inability of young people to form their own households will inhibit marriage and birth rates. Married couples want their own space and to live their lives outside of parental authority. Unaffordable rents and home prices are causing young people to delay getting married and having children.
Though marriage rates and average family size have declined over the past fifty years, Americans still want the joys of family life.
In fact, the percentage of Americans that view three or more children as ideal in 2023 is higher than at any time since the start of the 1970s. According to Gallup, almost 50 percent of Americans view three or more children as ideal. Only 2 percent of Americans view zero children as ideal.
The early years of adulthood are a critical time in our lives. Until now, it is the stage of life in which so many important life decisions are made.
High housing costs and a bad economy limit the flexibility of young Americans to explore life’s possibilities including those concerning marriage and family and to make those choices that produce the greatest happiness and fulfilment in the long-run.