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Record Number of Millennials Remain in Parental Nest

Concerned that your millennial son or daughter won't be moving out of the house soon?

You should be. A study released by the Pew Research Center on Tuesday found the percentage of those in the 18-34 age group now living at home is the highest on record since 1880, when data was first collected.

Close to one-third of the millennial demographic group are living with parents, "for the first time in the modern era," Pew said, giving hope for those fearing an empty nest, but apprehension for parents seeking to usher their offspring into independence.

The most recent at-home rate for millennials is just a bit higher than those who have moved out to live with a spouse or partner, Pew found, using census data to track this trend. The survey, taken from 2014 data, found 32.1 percent living at home, and 31.6 percent married or cohabiting in their own households. The others live with roommates, on college campuses in dorms, or with other family, the study noted, reflecting both a shift away from marriage and more young people staying single longer.

"This turn of events is fueled primarily by the dramatic drop in the share of young Americans who are choosing to settle down romantically before age 35," Pew researchers said. "Dating back to 1880, the most common living arrangement among young adults has been living with a romantic partner, whether a spouse or a significant other. This type of arrangement peaked around 1960, when 62 percent of the nation’s 18- to 34-year-olds were living with a spouse or partner in their own household, and only one-in-five were living with their parents."

Millennials now make up the nation's largest generation, outpacing baby boomers 75.4 million to 74.9 million. Immigration has added to millennial numbers more than any other generation, Pew said, adding that it should peak by 2036 at 81.1 million.

Marketers covet this demographic segment and watch closely for their consumer behavior as millennials influence everything from spending trends to popular culture to social norms. For example, Pew found in a separate study that one in four millennials are unlikely ever to marry.

The study released Tuesday found that more millennial-aged women were living with a spouse or romantic partner than men, 35 percent to 28 percent. By turn, 16 percent of millennial women were the heads of their households, living without husbands or partners, a fact due to more single women as parents living alone with children, Pew noted. Just 13 percent of millennial men were the single heads of their households.

Pew said recent economic trends have influenced more millennials living at home, especially for men.

"Employed young men are much less likely to live at home than young men without a job. The share of young men with jobs peaked around 1960 at 84 percent," the researchers found. Today, just 71 percent of millennial-aged men are employed with their wages dropping off since 1970, and falling off sharply from 2000 to 2010, Pew said.

Millennial women seemed less impacted by the economy, the researchers said.  "For women, delayed marriage, which is related in part to labor market outcomes from men, may explain more of their increase in their living in the family home."

Educational attainment and race also impacted these living arrangements. More black and Hispanic millennials lived at home (36 percent), than their white counterparts (30 percent).

"For black young adults, living with mom and/or dad is now the most common arrangement, as only 17 percent were living with a spouse or romantic partner in 2014. For Hispanic young adults living with parent(s) is also the dominant arrangement as 30 percent were living with a spouse or significant other in 2014. Generally, young adult blacks and Hispanics lag behind young whites both in terms of educational attainment and employment status," Pew said of its findings.

Of those millennials without bachelor's degrees, 36 percent lived with parents, compared with 19 percent who had earned an undergraduate degree, Pew reported.