From Living At Home To Forgetting About Kids: Visualizing The Economic Realities Of Young Adults In America

With nearly 40% of young adults in California living with their parents and a $1.6 trillion student debt crisis taking more than just a little bite out of disposable income (and any hope of saving for many), economist Gary Kimbrough of the University of North Carolina at Greensboro has thrown together a ton of interesting data to answer the question: "What are the economic realities for young adults, and how have they changed from prior decades?"

While much of Kimbrough's analysis was done in February, he's revisited his work ahead of a January presentation on the topic of young adults living at home.

Living at home

What's more, when broken down by categories "living with parents, household head or spouse of household head, living in group quarters (mostly prisons for these ages), and other arrangements like cohabiting and living with roommates," it's startling to watch how young adults have been living at home vs. starting their own families over time

Job switching

When it comes to "job hopping" - young adults are largely staying put - and "aren't even switching jobs at anything close to the levels of those in their age groups before 2001" according to Kimbrough. 

Everyone has a degree

"In 1992, middle-aged men were significantly more likely to have a bachelor's degree than women or younger men. Now members of every group age 25-34 are more likely to have degrees than those men were," writes Kimbrough, adding "Women's college degree rates have shot up significantly more than men's."

Men at (part time) work

Since the Great Recession, Kimbrough noticed that "the propensity to work part time is about the same for women as pre-recession, but is up quite a bit for men under 35. Men 25-29 are still more likely to work PT than any time pre-2009."

Working women are up, marriages are down

As more women have chosen careers over homemaking, Kimbrough provides an illustration of prime-age employment as a percentage of population, by gender. What's more, young adult marriages have declined markedly over the last decade, continuing a trend which began mid-century

Gaming overtakes TV time

While not an "economic reality" per-se, it's interesting to note that young men have been swapping TV-watching time for gaming. 

Of note, and unsurprisingly - young men living at home constitute the bulk of gamers watching less TV.

Owned by rent

Using Census/ACS data, Kimbrough shows how young adults are "significantly more likely to live in rental housing than in prior decades."

What about the children?

Also unsurprising, with lower marriage rates and higher female employment, women in their 20s are "significantly less likely to have a child than a decade ago," while those over the age of 32 are slightly more likely to have a kid. 

In short: