Posted by: Tom Ross | August 7, 2013

Under the Dome

According to a new Pew Research Center analysis of U.S. Census Bureau data, 36% of Millennials—the generation born after 1980—lived at home last year. That’s more young adults living with their parents than in the last four decades—21.6 million. Other demographic patterns are interesting as well, including that males are significantly more likely than females to live at home (40% to 32%).

The recession of 2007-2009 is partly to blame. 63% of 18-31-year-olds held jobs last year, down from 70% in 2007. Also, only 25% of these young adults are married.


The rising cost of higher education has also inspired Millennials to return home. A new national survey by Sallie Mae, How America Pays for College 2012, found living at home was the top cost-saving strategy for college students.

The good news is that 66% of Millennials living at home were enrolled in college in 2012, up from 50% in 2007, according to the Pew report.

And since 1968, the number of 18 to 31-year-olds with some education beyond high school has doubled: 30% in 1968, 60% in 2012.


If there is an incentive to staying in college while living at home, it’s this: adults ages 30 to 34 who didn’t get a college degree are twice as likely still to be living at home than those who did—22% vs. 10%. Only 18% of those with a four-year college degree lived at home compared with 40% of those with only a high school education. (This is from another Pew study with the great name: The Boomerang Generation.)

The Sallie Mae study also found that in 2012, families continued the shift toward lower-cost community college, with 29 percent enrolled, compared to 23 percent two years ago. In fact, overall, families paid 5 percent less for college compared to one year ago.

The next issue for Millennials? Jobs. As seen in our last blog, the workforce requirements of the future are pretty clear.

For community colleges, the need is evident, the cry for help is clear, and the market is right in the neighborhood. Young adults living at home are looking for a way out. They know that some sort of post-secondary or higher education is the answer. And for practical/financial reasons, they will look locally.

It’s a good time to remind them of the advantages of attending a community college and help get them on their way and eventually out of the house, as summarized by FastWeb and US News & World Report. Recently in our blog we also explored how community college isn’t necessarily a stepping-stone to a 4-year college. But it can be, if that’s your goal.

At a community college you can:

  •       Save money on tuition: a state university costs triple;
  •       Get the general graduation requirements out of the way;
  •       Explore fields that interest you before committing to a major;
  •       Improve your grade point average (GPA) and your self-confidence;
  •       And, (dare I say it?) save money by living at home.

For further reading on the generations and Millennials:

Pew has been researching Millennials for a while. In 2010 they defined Millennials as “Confident. Connected. Open to Change.”  The U.S. Chamber of Commerce finds them to have a confidence bordering on entitlement.” (Sotto Voce)

Just how Millennial ARE Millennials? Pew even has a 14 item quiz to determine that.

Leaving the nest even with a college degree isn’t easy, according to an article last week in the LA Times.

More Millennials living at home, despite the end of the recession—but the good news is they are still taking classes at local community colleges.

Brazen Life, a lifestyle and career blog for ambitious young professionals, encourages Millennials to become entrepreneurs. The trick is to “understand their[Millennials] mindset.”



  1. New Citi/Seventeen Survey, 2013 College Student Pulse, a national survey of over 1,000 high school seniors and college students, explores the way students save, spend, and manage the finances of college life.

  2. […] trend of adult children not leaving the nest? Nearly two-thirds are enrolled in college, from the CTE Central Blog with the latest from the Pew Research […]

  3. More on Millennials and the job market: ‘Failure to Launch: Structural Shift and the New Lost Generation’ from Georgetown University’s Center on Education and the Workforce:

  4. […] tolerant, and diverse (43% are non-white). Despite the fact that they are burdened with financial hardships–student loan debt averaging $27,000 for a bachelor’s degree; an unemployment rate of […]

  5. […] August we reported—in our blog Under the Dome—on the large number of Millennials who are living at home either because of the high cost of a […]

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