U.S. News

What Empty Nest? Weak Economy Means Living at Home


You raise them, you educate them and you expect them to go out into the world. But they keep coming back.

Verity Jane Smith | Brand X Pictures | Getty Images

The recession and weak recovery appears to be keeping many adult children from getting a home of their own, and that could have implications for the housing industry's recovery.

A Census Bureau report released Wednesday found that between 2007 and 2011 there was a steady increase in the percentage of adults living in someone else's house – and that increase has mostly been driven by adult children moving in with mom and dad.

In 2011, Census Bureau researchers found that 17.9 percent of people 18 and older, or 41.2 million people, lived in a house in which they weren't the head of the household or that person's spouse or significant other. That's up from 16 percent in 2007, before the nation went into recession.

About half of those people were adult children living with their parents, while the rest were other relatives or unrelated people such as a group of roommates.

But Suzanne Macartney, an analyst in the poverty statistics branch of the Census Bureau and a co-author of the report, said the only group that saw an increase between 2007 and 2011 were adults moving in with their parents.