America's young people are the most educated in history but not necessarily the best educated, and they're taking longer to become self-supporting adults, a new government report indicates.

Assistant Education Secretary Chester E. Finn Jr., who released the report Monday, said the percentage of 18- to 24-year-olds living with parents increased from 43 percent in 1960 to 53.6 percent in 1985."American young people seem to be staying younger longer," he said. "They seem to be becoming autonomous, self-supporting individuals at a slower rate than was once the case."

The report, entitled "Youth Indicators 1988," was compiled from existing data dating back to 1950 from federal agencies and private organizations.

During that time, the percentage of college graduates among Americans age 25 to 29 increased from 7.7 percent in 1950 to 22.4 per cent in 1986. The 1986 total of those with some college, 44 percent, is greater than the percentage with only a high school education, 42.1 percent, for the first time in U.S. history.

But Finn said falling SAT and ACT scores, plus the last-place ranking of U.S. students in recent international science and mathematics tests, are reason for concern.

"I have to say that while a lot more kids are getting more education measured in the number of years of schooling, they don't know very much," he said.