"I feel like it's a better way (for them to transition into adulthood)" Tressa Moody, Karlin's mother, said. "It makes it easier on them. And she helps us out in many ways — we don't take care of her every need."
That, Karlin Moody said, was a key difference between what she was doing — living at home so she could afford to pay tuition — and young adults she would regard as "mooching" off their parents.
"If you don't have a job or you're blowing all your money on unneeded things, that's mooching," she said.
College, like unemployment, is another important factor behind the increase, Fry said. College students could represent as much as half of the group of Millennials living at home, and only 18 percent of young adults with a bachelor's degree lived at home. Furthermore, the Pew study counted college students living in dorms as living with their parents because these students are often financially dependent on their parents and often return home during the summer.
Delayed marriage, delayed independence
The third major factor behind the increase, Fry said, is the decreasing number of young adults who marry.
It could also explain a number of other behaviors the study observed, including the increased popularity of living with roommates or cohabitating, and the discrepancy between boys and girls living at home.
According to the Pew study, men represented the majority of Millennials living with their parents. This is probably because women tend to marry or cohabitate at an earlier age than men, Fry said.
Separate studies put the median age for marriage at 26.6 for women, and 28.6 for men. The gap persists for cohabitating couples as well — the median age for cohabitation is 21.8 among women and 23.5 for men.
Couples that marry or cohabitate were far less likely to live with their parents, Fry said. Less than 3 percent of young married couples move in with their parents, and cohabitating couples are even less likely to live at home.
However, the gender gap may also be partially explained by differences in education. Men generally take longer to finish college, though Fry said the reason for that trend is not entirely clear.