If you live in your parents’ basement — or on their couch, in their guest house, or in a room over their garage — you might be a millennial. According to a Pew Research analysis of U.S. Census Bureau data, a rising number of young adults – a record 21.6 million, or 36 percent, of 18- to 31-year-olds, the so-called Millennial generation — were living at home in 2012. That figure is the highest share in at least four decades, and represents a slow, but steady increase from the 32 percent share of young adults who were living at home before the Great Recession began in 2007 and the 34 percent who did when it officially ended in 2009.
A lot is hidden within that large figure of 21.6 million, details that reveal much about the generation, including how educated they are, when they are marrying and beginning families, and the demographic traits that correlate with living at home. For example, young men are much more likely to live at home even though they are now less likely to be in college than young women are.
The steady rise in the share of Millennials who live in their parents’ home appears to be driven by a combination of economic, educational, and cultural factors that include: