The share of 18-to-34-year-olds living with their parents was 31.5% as of March 2015, up from 31.4% last year, according to a report from the Commerce Department on Monday. In 2005, just 27% of young adults lived with their parents, a number that has climbed pretty steadily since then.
That the percentage at home has barely moved from last year is particularly notable because many economists expected young people to start moving out as the economy has improved and unemployment among young people has dropped significantly. The housing market is relying on those new households to drive future demand.
Instead, Mr. Kolko says that the rise in children living with their parents is largely related to the fact that people are marrying and having children later, not to the weak economy and housing market. Single people without children are more likely to continue living at home much later.
Earlier this month, the Pew Research Center showed that more young women were living with their parents in 2014 than any time since the 1940s. Researchers noted that young women traditionally left home to get married, which they are now doing later and later.
Because young people aren’t likely to leave home in large numbers as their job prospects improve, the surge of pent-up housing demand they were expected to create will be more like a slow, steady trickle, Mr. Kolko said.
That helps explain why the share of first-time homebuyers remains low.
“What I think it means is that the boost to housing from young adults will come more slowly than people expect,” Mr. Kolko said. “The long-term demographic shifts suggest this might be the new normal, with young people living with their parents longer and more permanently delaying household formation and homeownership.”