Americans are setting out on their own later on in life

Technology

Yes, it is true. People are spending more time at home before setting out on their own.

In 2019, it takes three years longer for most Americans to live on their own than it did in 2000, a new study from Zillow says.

And it’s the younger generations who are taking more time to live independently.

“It’s true that people are becoming homeowners later and later in life, but even before that today’s adults are taking significantly longer to simply live on their own,” said Skylar Olsen, director of economic research at Zillow. “While some may consider the impact of evolving tastes and cultural norms, as economists we can point to very real changes in household budgets that make the classic tactics of sticking with mom and dad or extending those college roommate years past graduation more appealing.”

Historically, adults who lived in the more expensive metros began to live independently later in life. That gap has widened over the past four decades.

In 1980, 1990 and 2000, most adults lived independently, at age 23. In 2017, the study says it took until age 26 for adults to live on their own.

Zillow says that changes in social and cultural norms, as well as affordability challenges, likely explain some of the shift.

In 2017, the tipping point age, meaning the age that people began living on their own, was highest in Riverside, Los Angeles, New York and Miami at age 29. Each of these metros have seen their tipping point ages increase by at least five years since 1980, while it has only increased by one year in less-expensive metros such as Oklahoma City, for example, which went from ages 21 to 22, according to Zillow.

“As the costs of life’s basics outpace incomes, parents that offer housing after their children’s schooling has ended can provide breathing space, allowing the next generation to begin paying off substantial college debt,” Olsen said. “Smaller, more accessible housing markets often tout not just the possibility of homeownership for todays’ adults, but simply the opportunity for independence and privacy – features of life that major job markets struggle to offer more and more.”