Pew: Record Share of Young Women Still at Home

One key demographic group for future homeownership–young women–remain on the sidelines, said the Pew Research Center.  

More specifically: nearly four in 10 women (36.4 percent) between 18 and 34 resided with a family member in 2014, the largest share of young women living with parents or other relatives since the 1940s.  

“You’d have to go back 74 years to observe similar living arrangements among American young women,” said Pew Senior Researcher Richard Fry. “Young men, too, are increasingly living in the same situation, but unlike women their share hasn’t climbed to its level from 1940, the highest year on record.”  

The report ( said back in 1940, 36.2 percent of young women lived with their parents or relatives. That number dropped over the next several decades as marriage rates increased and women began joining the workforce in larger numbers, becoming financially able to live on their own.   Young adults were most likely to live independently of family around 1960, when just 24% stayed in the nest. But that figure modestly increased from 1960 to 2000 and then sharply increased after that, especially with the onset of the Great Recession in 2008.  

“The labor market recovery since then has not reversed the trend–in fact, it’s become even more pronounced,” Fry said.  

The report notes reasons that more women today are living with mom and dad are far different from in the 1940s: Today’s young women are more likely to be college educated and unmarried than earlier generations of American women in their age group.  

In the decade that brought the country into World War II, women typically lived with their parents until they married and only a small share attended college. Even in 1960, only 5 percent of 18-34-year-old women were college students. Today, women are five times more likely to be enrolled in college. According to 2014 figures, 27 percent of young women were college students.  

The report said college students, including those enrolled part-time and at community college, are significantly more likely to live with family than young adults who are not in college. In 2014, 45 percent of young females in college lived with family, compared to 33 percent of young females not in college.  

Furthermore, while marriage typically promotes living independently of parents and other relatives, many young women are delaying marriage compared with earlier decades. In 2013, young women were half as likely to be married (30 percent) as young women in 1940 (62 percent). Census figures show that in 2014, the typical woman began her first marriage at age 27. In 1940, it was 21.5.  

The report also noted that it’s not just young women remaining in the nest; last year, 42.8 percent of young men lived with their family, a higher share than women but not one that surpasses the highest rates on record like the women’s share does.  

However, Mortgage Bankers Association research suggests this trend might not hold much longer. An MBA research paper, Housing Demand: Demographics and the Numbers Behind the Coming Multi-Million Increase in Households ( said nearly 16 million new households are expected in the U.S. housing market by 2024.  

MBA Vice President of Research and Economics Lynn Fisher said this demand, driven primarily by younger and minority borrowers, should lead to much greater demand for both renter- and owner-occupied housing. Up to 5.1 million new Millennial households could be created in the next 10 years, she said, with housing market growth over the next decade the strongest the U.S. has ever seen.   

“Just the sheer change in the number of people are driving the creation of new household formation,” Fisher said in a presentation at the recent MBA 102nd Annual Convention & Expo.   

The MBA study noted household formation has been depressed in recent years by a long, jobless recovery. “Favorable economic and demographic trends will combine to create strong growth in both owner and rental housing markets,” the study said. “The precise mix will depend on the degree to which consumer choices, the relative cost of owning vs. renting and government policy’s impact on access to credit favor one or the other.”   

Additionally, the MBA report noted as Millennials age and create more housing demand, “these long-term social trends will mix with demographic changes and the waning hang-over from the Great Recession with a net outcome of increased demand for housing.”