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  • A new report from RentCafe shows one in five millennials (20%) and two-thirds of Gen Zers (68%) live with family members in multigenerational homes, taking longer to leave than previous generations at their age. And many don’t expect to move anytime soon.

Compared to older generations, Gen Y and Gen Z are taking longer to leave the nest. 

According to a new report from RentCafe, one in five Millennials (20%) and about two-thirds of Zoomers (68%) are choosing to live with their parents or other family members in a multigenerational home. 

And many of them expect to continue living there for at least two more years. 

RentCafe_Share-of-adults-living-in-multigenerational-homes-pie-chart

Source: RentCafe

California has the most Millennials and Gen Zers living in multigenerational homes—likely due to higher home prices in much of the state. 

So, what does this trend mean for our society, for the overall economy, and for the people involved? A closer look at the data shows evolving familial structures, largely due to financial pragmatism and generational adaptation. 

Those trends—plus record-low levels of housing affordability—have real implications for the American Dream

About 14 million millennials and 23 million Gen Zers live in multi-gen households

According to RentCafe’s analysis of IPUMS data (Integrated Public Use Microdata Series), about 15 million millennials and 23 million Gen Zers share a home with at least one family member. Those are the largest generational shares across all age groups (not counting Generation Alpha, who are, as of yet, too young to move out). 

Put another way, of the 51 million people currently living in multigenerational homes, only 8 million are Gen X and 6 million are baby boomers. 

Responses to the RentCafe survey indicate many multi-gen dwelling millennials and Gen Zers don’t expect their living situation to change anytime soon. In fact, over 40% of millennials (47%) and Gen Zers (41%) expect it to continue for at least another two years. 

Fourteen percent of millennials even expect to continue as they are for at least 10 more years, while only 6% of Gen Zers have the same expectation. 

To better understand this generational trend, RentCafe looked at the 50 largest U.S. metros (by population) to identify multigenerational hotspots for millennials and Gen Zers—as well as which of them are finding it more difficult to leave the nest compared to their peers. 

Millennials and Zoomers in service jobs are more likely to continue living in multigenerational homes

While the reasons behind Gen Y and Gen Z taking longer to leave the nest are varied, financial and/or health-related circumstances rank highest on the list. 

The typical millennial living with a family member at age 32, according to RentCafe’s data, lives with three or four other people. They’re also more likely to have jobs in food service, construction, or education. 

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Source: RentCafe

Overall, millennials are slower to leave the parental home. For comparison, 18% of baby boomers and 17% of Gen X were living with their parents at the age of today’s average millennial. 

At age 22, 61% of boomers and 65% of Gen X were still living with their parents—compared to 66% of millennials and 68% of Gen Z.

RentCafe_Millennials-and-Gen-Z-take-longer-to-leave-compared-to-older-generations_bar-chart

Source: RentCafe

The tendency of younger generations to stay in the parental home often comes down to one of two factors:

  1. Millennials and Zoomers may choose to keep living with their parents (when that’s an option) to save money on living expenses—including childcare costs, rent, utility bills, or a future down payment on a home. 
  2. On the flipside, younger generations might choose to live with their parents in order to care for them or for other family members living in the same household. 

Metros with the largest shares of individuals living in multigenerational homes

The most popular state for multigenerational living arrangements is California. 

For example, in Los Angeles, about 35% of the roughly three million Millennials and 81% of the 1.3 million Zoomers live with family members. Given the high cost of living in this metro—about 51% above the national average—it’s hardly surprising so many younger Americans are finding it more difficult to leave the nest. 

RentCafe_Top-5-metros-with-largest-share-of-people-living-in-multigenerational-homes_image

Source: RentCafe

Raleigh, NC, has the highest share of Zoomers living in multigenerational households, with 87% of about 178,000 Gen Z living with family members in 2022. 

On the West Coast, Riverside, CA, takes second place for both Gen Y and Gen Z, as 35% of almost one million Millennials and 85% of about 460,000 Zoomers are choosing to live with family rather than buy (or rent) their own place. 

Source: RentCafe

Metro areas where Millennials and Gen Zers leave the nest sooner

Some metros are seeing a decline in the shares of Millennials and Zoomers living with family members—defying the belief that the pandemic has increased multigenerational living across the board. 

In fact, in over 20 of the largest U.S. metros, the number of Millennials and Zoomers living with family members has been on a downward trend over the past five years. 

The Cincinnati area has seen one of the biggest declines, with 67% fewer Gen Yers and 60% fewer Gen Zers living in multigenerational households, compared to 2018. 

RentCafe-Top-5-metros-with-biggest-5-year-drops-in-multigenerational-households_image

Source: RentCafe

Milwaukee, WI, has seen the highest shares of Zoomers leaving the next, with 62% fewer living in multigenerational homes compared to five years ago. And Nashville, TN, has seen a 65% drop in Millennials living with family members compared to 2018. 

Source: RentCafe

The share of adults living in multigenerational homes is increasing in three metro areas

While the U.S. has been trending toward a decline in multigenerational living, leaving the nest is still a complex issue. And whether someone chooses to continue living with family or to move out and set up a household of their own depends on multiple factors: 

  • Employment/income 
  • Cost of living
  • Personal preference
  • Childcare 
  • Care needs of others in the family

So, while some metros are seeing a drop in multigenerational living, others are seeing the opposite. Richmond, VA, for example, has seen a 15% increase in the number of Gen Yers living with family members and a 2% increase for Gen Zers, compared to five years ago. 

Louisville, KY has seen a 21% increase in multigenerational living for Millennials and a 24% increase for Zoomers, resulting in shares of 15% and 73%, respectively. 

Meanwhile, Denver, CO, has noticed a 9% increase in the number of Zoomers living with family members, while Buffalo, NY, has seen a 6% rise in multigenerational living for Millennials and a 2% rise for Gen Z. 

Source: RentCafe

Read the full RentCafe report for more information.