More Women are Living at Home Now Than Anytime Since 1940

It could be the pushback of marriage, or a desire to complete master’s and post-graduate programs.

Or it could simply be because living in our cities is damn expensive.

Whatever the case, the percentage of young females living at home with parents or relatives has risen to its highest level since 1940. I can’t say I’m shocked; pretty much every Toronto-raised female I know returned home for at least a few years after university – especially the single ones.


According to a Pew Research Center analysis of U.S. Census Bureau data, 36.4 per cent of women between the ages 18 and 34 lived with parents or relatives in 2014. This figure is the highest it’s been since 1940, when 36.2 per cent lived with family.

Though the data obviously deals with Americans, I suspect a similar trend with the young Canadian ladies as well.

The thing, is, it has little to do with a desire to reverse our roles and return to the past – the opposite, in fact.

According to Richard Fry, a senior economist at Pew, young women are staying home now because they are half as likely to be married as they were in 1940 (no surprise there), and are more likely to be college-educated (no surprise there either).

Financial factors, like sky-high rent costs, increasing student debt, and economic uncertainty also play a major role.

Let’s not forget that today’s millennials are pretty much born with a desire to travel, along with a love for the “it” gadget of the week. Thanks to social media photo sharing, it’s safe to guess we’re buying more clothes than ever too. Meaning, we’d rather spend our hard-earned cash on these “extras” than on rent and Internet bills until we can afford both simultaneously.

For these reasons, an increasing number of men are opting to stay at home longer too in recent years, but – unlike the females – the rate of 42.8% remains below the 47.5%  level for men in 1940.

According to the study, the percentage of young men and women living with family dropped after the 1940s as more females joined the workforce, the overall workforce expanded, and marriage rates increased.

While marriage was once the catalyst for one to move on from “the nest,” tying that knot comes later with each generation.

Not to mention, many of us graduated school in the middle of an economic recession. It’s hardly a coincidence that people began staying or returning home at a more rapid rate after 2000. Fry highlights the fact that – although having your parents as landlords is largely the result of economic factors – it doesn’t mean that young people are unemployed or struggling to find jobs. Case-in-point: more young adults are living with their family now than in 2010, despite an improvement in the job market.

According to Fry, another factor in the change is increased ethnic diversity in young people, which in turn has introduced cultural traditions of living with parents and relatives longer.

Either way, if you still live at home, know you’re not alone. And one day, after you move out, you might even miss it.