USA: Good Question : How many young adults / students moved home amid the pandemic?

This year millions of young adults have retreated to familiar territory : living at home with Mom and Dad.

About 2.6 million 18 to 29 year-old Americans started living with at least one of their parents since February, bringing the total to 26.6 million in July - or all about 52% of all young adults in the country, according to a Pew Research Center analysis, released Sept 4, of Census Bureau data 

This number shattered the previous record of 48%, set during the Great Depression.

Perhaps unsurprisingly, the trend is inextricably linked to the Covid-19 pandemic, but that's not the whole story.

Among that wave of Americans back home was Mieka Van Scoypc, a 27-year-old ad copywriter. 

While she loved living in New York City, she also had credit card debit and limited savings and, once the pandemic closed offices, she didn't want to work from home with a roommate in a small apartment.

Now living with her parents in the suburbs of North Carolina, she feels lucky to be close to family and have fresh air and open space. ''My'' room is comparable to my entire apartment in New York,'' she says.

But Van Scoyoc is also following a trend that began well before the novel coronavirus struck. The number of young adults living with their parents rose from a low of 29% in 1960 to 44% in 2010, as Americans stayed in a school longer and put off milestones like getting married.

However, this year's increase is notably sharp and tracks with the pandemic's timing.

While 46% or 47% of Americans in that age group lived with a parent through 2019, the number jumped to 49% in March and then 52% from May through July. In 88% of those situations, the young adult lives in the parent's house.

Young adults were also the age group most likely to move as a result of the outbreak - with 9% moving because of COVID-19, compared with 3% for the overall population, according to PEW polling in June - though people of all ages hit the road for virus-related reasons.

Among all adults who moved because of the pandemic, 28% said they did so to avoid its spread, 23% because their college campus closed and 20% to be closer to family.

Money also seems to have played a big part in young people's decisions, as young Americans have shouldered some of the worst financial impacts of the pandemic.

In April and May, 40% of workers ages 18 to 20 reported that they'd lost their jobs or taken pay cuts. According to the June poll, about 38% of all adults who moved because of COVID-19 said the biggest reason was related to money or losing their jobs.

Van Scoyoc has been able to keep working, but given the unpredictability of the pandemic, she's still not sure when she'll move out of her parents house.

''It does seem like it's not really worthwhile to try to make plans in the face of this, just because there's so much that's so uncertain,'' she says. ''I'm just kind of taking it as it comes.''   

The World Students Society thanks Tara Law.


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