Bucking the time-honored tradition of “leaving the nest,” an astounding 68% of young Gen Z adults are choosing familial confines as opposed to independent living, thus weaving a complex narrative of economic, social and familial ties in modern America. What’s more, Millennials aren’t far behind with 20% struggling with leaving the nest and still residing in their parental homes. But, what does this mean for our society, economy and the individuals involved? Digging into the data reveals a tale of generational adaptation, financial pragmatism, and evolving familial structures that are reshaping the American Dream.

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In the Phoenix metro area, 336,000 Zoomers and 177,500 Millennials struggle to live independently. Their pace of moving out is slower than in most metros in the country. Moreover, Phoenix Gen Zers spread their wings later in life than previous generations. 

  • Share of Zoomers who live with their parents: 67% (down 20% since 2018)  
  • Share of Millennials living with relatives: 17% (down 35% since 2018)  

Our most recent analysis of IPUMS data shows that approximately 14 million Millennials and 23 million Gen Z-ers shared a household with at least one family member. These numbers represent the largest generational shares across all age groups. Of the 51 million people living in multigenerational households today, 8 million are Gen X and 6 million are Baby Boomers.

Moreover, it seems like many of the Millennials and Gen Z-ers living at home don't see things changing and leaving the nest any time soon, either. According to a RentCafe survey, more than 40% of Millennials (47%) and Gen Z-ers (41%) expect to continue sharing their home with someone else for at least another 2 years.

Surprisingly, 14% of Millennials expect to live in a shared household for at least 10 years, while Gen Z-ers are somewhat more optimistic with only 6% envisioning the same arrangement into their adulthood.

So, to come to a better understanding of this generational trend, we analyzed IPUMS data and looked at the 50 largest metros in the U.S. by population to determine the multigenerational hotspots for younger generations, as well as which Millennials and Gen Z-ers are finding it harder to leave the nest compared to their peers.

Millennials and Gen Z-ers working a service job are more likely to continue living in a multigenerational home  

What's making many adults stay with their parents nowadays? Well, while the reasons might be varied, it mainly boils down to either financial- or health-related circumstances. According to our data, the typical Millennial living with a family member at the age of 32 shares their home with three or four other people. They're also likely to be employed in food services, construction or education.

Overall, Millennials are slower when it comes to leaving the nest compared to previous generations: 18% of Baby Boomers and 17% of Gen X were living with their parents at the same age as today's average Millennials. Likewise, Zoomers also struggle: By 22 years old, 66% of Millennials, 65% of Gen X and 61% of Baby Boomers were still at home, which was surpassed by a 68% share of Gen Z.

This difference between generations could be explained by various factors. For instance, younger generations may find it more appealing to continue living in the parental home in order to save money on expenses, such as childcare costs, utility bills, rent or a future down payment. On the other hand, it’s also likely that more and more Millennials and Zoomers might choose to remain home to care for family members.

California is the most popular state for multigenerational living

When it comes to the largest shares of multigenerational households, West Coast metros dominate. Out of approximately 3 million Millennials in Los Angeles, 35% live with family members. For Zoomers, it's 81% out of roughly 1.3 million. Here, the high cost of living in the metro area — which is 51% above the national average — explains why many young adults are finding it difficult to leave this living arrangement.

Interestingly, Raleigh, NC, is the #1 hotspot for Zoomers in multigenerational households. In 2022, 87% of around 178,000 Zoomers in Raleigh still lived with family members.

Back on the West Coast, California's Riverside metro area takes second place for both generations. Approximately 35% of nearly 1 million Millennials and 85% of around 460,000 Zoomers have yet to leave the nest. The third spot is shared by the metro areas of New York and Providence, RI. Millennials claim the Big Apple with 28% living in multigenerational households, while the Renaissance City leans more toward Zoomers.

Two other East Coast metro areas — Baltimore and Washington, D.C. — are also popular among Millennials and Zoomers. In Baltimore, 27% of Gen Y and, in D.C., 81% of Gen Z live with family members. And, despite the availability of housing options in both places, the cost of living remains a significant factor: Baltimore's cost of living is 8% above the national average, while Washington, D.C. soars to 52% above.