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Goodbye, empty nest: Millennials staying longer with parents

Millennials with parents
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Sick of your roommate's annoying girlfriend? Tired of paying way too much for a crappy apartment?

Maybe it's time to move back in with your parents.

For the first time in 130 years, that's the most popular living arrangement among adults, aged 18 to 34, according to a new Pew Research Center analysis of census data.

Nearly a third of millennials live with their parents, slightly more than the share of their age group who live with a spouse or partner. For this age group, the researchers say, this is the first time that living at home has overtaken living with a spouse since the U.S. Census began keeping track in 1880.

As recently as 2000, nearly 43 percent of young adults, ages 18 to 34, were married or living with a partner. By 2014, that proportion was just 31.6 percent.

In 2000, only 23 percent of young adults were living with parents. In 2014, the figure reached 32.1 percent.

The Pew researchers point to several ongoing forces at work, including the ongoing trend of young adults postponing marriage.

The typical U.S. woman now marries at 27.1 years old, the typical man at 29.2, according to census data. That's up from record lows of 20.1 for women and 22.5 for men in 1956.

"They're concentrating more on school, careers and work and less focused on forming new families, spouses or partners and children," said Richard Fry, lead author of the report and a senior economist at the Pew Research Center. Fry said of the millennials.

Among young men, the delay in moving out on their own is partly due to declining employment and falling wages, the Pew researchers said. The share of 18 to 34 year old with jobs fell to 71 percent in 2014, the report found, from 84 percent in 1960 — the year when the proportion of young adults living outside the home peaked.

That financial burden is compounded by falling incomes, rising rents and the growth of student debt. Adjusted for inflation, wages for young men fell by a third between 2000 and 2014.

The proportion of young adults now living with their parents is similar to the proportions that prevailed from 1880 through 1940, when the figure peaked, Pew found. Yet in those decades, the most common arrangement for young adults was living with a spouse rather than with parents.

"We've simply got a lot more singles," Fry said. "They're the group much more likely to live with their parents."

The share of young adults living with their parents is higher in housing markets where rents and mortgages consumes a bigger share of the median household income, according to data provided by Zillow.

In New York City, for example, where the average rental costs 40 percent of the median income, some 30 percent of working aged millennials are living with their parents. In Kansas City, Missouri, on the other hand, where the average renter spends just 24 percent of median income, just 14 percent of working aged Millennials are living at home.

(The Associated Press contributed to this report.)