Tanvi Misra is a staff writer for CityLab covering immigrant communities, housing, economic inequality, and culture. She also authors Navigator, a weekly newsletter for urban explorers (subscribe here). Her work also appears in The Atlantic, NPR, and BBC.
Well, not all. But young women are more likely to be at home today than they were in 1940.
The share of young women who are living with their parents has reached a “record high,” according to a new Pew Research Center analysis of census data. At 36.2 percent in 2014, the percentage of such women climbed higher than what it was in 1940 (36.2 percent) for the first time.
While the share of men living at home has also rising steadily over the last couple of decades, and has actually always higher than women, it hasn’t risen beyond its 1940 level. (1940 was the first year comparable data were available.)
Here’s Pew’s chart showing the fall and rise in the trend of living at home for men and women from 1940 to 2014:
The reasons why so many young women are living at home in 2014 are very different from those explaining the prewar trends. Back then, not as many women had jobs or were enrolled in college, so they tended to live at home until they got married, Pew explains. In the decades following 1940, more and more women got married and moved out, or got jobs that could support an independent living arrangement.
The number of young people—both men and women—who moved back in with their parents spiked after the recent recession, but kept rising even after the economy started improving.
The share of women, in particular, rose because they were half as likely to be married (as per 2013 data) than they were in 1940 (left). Women nowadays are also choosing to get hitched much later in life (typically at age 27 in 2014) than women were before (typically around age 21 in 1940).
Young women were also five times as likely to be college students in 2014 than they were in 1960, when only 5 percent of young women were enrolled in school. (The 1960 decennial census was the first to ask about college enrollment.) Research has shown both part-time and full-time college students are more likely to live with their parents. This is indeed true for young women: a larger proportion (45 percent) of collegiate women were living at home in 2014 than those who weren’t in school (33 percent).