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A Full House … Mostly

As their children age into adulthood, some mothers may feel a tinge of sadness at the thought of becoming an “empty nester;” others may rejoice at a new sense of freedom. Either way, mothers of young adults today may find their nest full for a while longer than mothers in years past.

Despite a recovering labor market, a growing percentage of millennials are living with their mothers, according to recent data from Zillow [1], and many of them are college graduates.

The percentage of millennials living with either their mother or both of their parents has risen 9 percentage points since 2005, up to 22.5 percent. That’s about 12 million adults ages 24 to 36 across the nation.

About 12 percent of these young adults are unemployed, according to Zillow’s findings [2].

The percentage of recent college graduates living with their mothers is also on the rise. About 28 percent currently live with their mothers, up from 19 percent in 2005.

The share of millennials living with their mothers is up in all of the 50 largest metros from what it was in 2005. In some, it has more than doubled.

With a recovering labor market, some may wonder what excuse these young adults have for living with their parents in a society that values independence. According to Zillow, you can blame it on the rents.

After all, rents did rise 3 percent over the past year, and the Zillow Rent Index now stands at $1,475 for the nation.

“As rents outpaced incomes over the past decade, young people turned to their families in large numbers to ease the housing cost crunch,” said Aaron Terrazas, Senior Economist at Zillow.

He also conjectured, “Living with parents may allow young adults to pursue work or a passion that may not be especially lucrative, or save enough money for first and last month’s rent or a down payment on a home of their own.”

The impact of rent costs can be seen in Zillow’s data, which reveals a higher percentage of millennials living with parents in areas with high rent and a lower percentage of millennials still living with parents where rents are more affordable.

More than 30 percent of millennials live with their mothers in Los Angeles, California; Miami, Florida; Riverside, California; and New York, New York. In all of these markets, rent claims more than 35 percent of the median income level. In Los Angeles, the median rent takes up 47.3 percent of a median monthly income.

On the other hand, just 13.9 percent of millennials in Austin, Texas, live with their mothers, the lowest rate recorded in any of the largest 50 metros in the nation, according to Zillow. A median rent in Austin costs 27.3 percent of a median income per month.

Seattle is not far behind Austin, with 14.4 percent of millennials living with Mom. In Denver, 15 percent of millennials live with their mothers, followed closely by Oklahoma City at 15.2 percent.

Western markets, even despite high and rising rents, tend to have higher rates of millennials living on their own, which Terrazas says is because, for many, their families live far away.

Terrazas did note, Zillow’s analysis did not differentiate between millennials moving in with their mothers and mothers moving in with their grown children.

“There is also a small slice of this young adult population that has a mom living with them instead,” he said. “Perhaps mom needs extra care as she ages, or has moved in with an adult child to help raise her grandchildren.”

For any mothers wondering when their millennial children will move out on their own, only time will tell; but if we’re blaming it on the rents, it is worth noting that Zillow predicts a 2 percent rise in rent costs over the next 12 months.