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More millennials living at home, and you can't blame the economy

More millennials living at home, and you can't blame the economy
According to a new report, millennials areless likely to be living independently of their families and establishing their own households than they were during the recession. (Genaro Molina / Los Angeles Times)

The economy might be recovering, but millennials are still largely living with their parents, one survey says.

According to the report released Wednesday by the Pew Research Center, the nation's 18- to 34-year-old population is less likely to be living independently of their families and establishing their own households than they were during the recession.

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In early 2015, the report said, about 42.2 million millennials, or 67%, lived independently, compared with 42.7 million millennials, or 71%, before the recession in 2007.

Since 2010, the percentage of millennials moving back in with their parents has increased from 24% to 26%.

This comes as the millennial population is growing. In 2015, there are nearly 3 million more young adults between the ages of 18 and 34 than there were in 2007, according to the report.

The stagnation in millennial households has a significant effect on the housing market, from Realtors to landlords to construction firms to cable companies, said Richard Fry, senior economist at the Pew Research Center and author of the report.

"It's contributing to why the housing market has been a real laggard in the recovery," he said. "There's a lot of spending that is associated with forming your own households."

Part of the problem can be linked to student loan debt, which can hinder independent living, according to the report. Though college-educated millennials are more likely to live independently than those with only a high school education, the trend for both groups has still decreased slightly since the recession.

"The notion was that it's just a crummy job market," Fry said. "There has to be more going on than that."

Full-time employment is up, unemployment is down and wages are marginally higher, according to the report.

The report doesn't go into more detail about why millennials are choosing to live with their parents, but Fry said rising rents in metropolitan areas, along with a change in attitudes about moving back home, could be part of it.

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