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Single Guys Living Together, With Mom and Dad

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In yet more evidence that eventually all of life will come to imitate a Matthew McConaughey movie, the U.S. Census Bureau reports an uptick in the number of fully grown men who are living at home with their parents. The new figures show that nearly one-fifth of American men aged 24 to 35 live with their parents, up from 14% in 2005.

In part, the recession is to blame: many young men moved back in with their parents when the economy tanked. But the trend actually began shortly before the economy turned sour in 2008, and has continued even after it recovered, according to author Rose Kreider, a family demographer with the Census Bureau. Last year, the rate of dudes moving in with Mom rose 2.2% — to 19% in 2011.

In contrast, only 10% of women aged 24 to 35 live with their parents, up from 8% in 2005. And the trend line among women has been shifting downward since the recession. This could have to do with certain permanent changes in the economy, including the loss of many traditionally male-dominated jobs, such as in manufacturing and construction. Or it could be that many men are still not as willing or as able as women to fend for themselves on the home front.

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More and more younger adults are also returning to the nest, though the discrepancy between the genders in this age group is less pronounced. The new study found that 59% of men and 50% of women aged 18 to 24 had moved back home in 2011. That’s up from 53% of men and 46% of women in 2005. (Those numbers include college kids living in dorms.)

The Census figures also show that the percentage of Americans who live alone, which has been rising steadily the 1960s, dropped for the first time between 2008 and 2010 — during the economic meltdown — but picked back up again afterward. In 1960, 13% of Americans lived alone; today that figure is up to 28%.

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