From the Atlantic:
More than ever, young people are living in their parents’ basements.
You’ve surely heard that one before. The Washington Post, the New York Times, the New Republic, Salon, and others have repeated it over and over in the last few years. More than 15.3 million twentysomethings—and half of young people under 25—live “in their parents’ home,” according to official Census statistics.
There’s just one problem with those official statistics. They’re criminally misleading. When you read the full Census reports, you often come upon this crucial sentence:
It is important to note that the Current Population Survey counts students living in dormitories as living in their parents’ home.
When you were adjusting to your freshman roommate, you were “living with your parents.” When you snagged that sweet triple with your best friends in grad housing, you were “living with your parents.” That one time you launched butt-rattling bottle rockets at the stroke of midnight off your fraternity roof? I hope you didn’t make too much noise. After all, you were “living with your parents,” and mine definitely went to bed around 11.
According to Richard Fry, the wonderful Pew demographer, the answer has less to do with “laziness” or the recession’s impact on Millennial wages and jobs. It has mostly to do with education.
As you can see in the graph below, the share of 18-to-24-year-olds living at home who aren’t in college has declined since 1986. But the share of college students living “at home” (i.e.: in dorms, often) has increased. So the Millennials-living-in-our-parents meme is almost entirely a result of higher college attendance.