Although Pew has not updated its report, the Harvard Joint Center for Housing Studies has been tracking patterns in census data. Daniel McCue, a senior research associate at the center, said there is evidence that as the pandemic eased in late summer and early fall of 2020, many young adults moved out. Young adults in the work force tended to leave by the fall, he said, while students were more likely to still be living with their parents.
Jessica Lautz, vice president of demographics and behavioral insight for the National Association of Realtors, noted that of home buyers today, the largest segment — 37 percent — are millennials. “Living at home for the past year has given a lot of young adults a better financial leg up to be able to purchase a home,” she said.
Katie Collins, who lives in Manchester, N.H., with her wife, Kelly Collins, had her daughter, Liza Goodman, who turns 22 on Saturday, home for nearly 11 months when she returned from the College of the Holy Cross in Worcester, Mass., during her junior year. Being with her every day all day “provided the gift of uninterrupted time with my daughter, the time to really see the adult she had become, the scholar she was becoming and the thoughtful, funny person she was,” Ms. Collins said. When she dropped her back at school in January, “I drove away feeling as though I’d had a limb amputated. This was worse than freshman year.” She cried for an hour in her kitchen when she returned home, “the kind of crying I hadn’t let myself do for an entire year of pandemic life.”
Billye J. Jones, a social worker based in New York City and adjunct professor at New York University, said that amid the devastation wrought by the coronavirus, parents may feel it’s “indulgent” to dwell on their sadness about having their children leave. She recommended practicing self-compassion and not judging yourself harshly for being upset. “It’s important to say, ‘My child is gone, and I feel bad about it and I miss them,’” she said. She urged “sitting with the sadness and allowing yourself the space to grieve that.”
Kelly Salasin’s sons, ages 20 and 25, moved back home to Southern Vermont from Washington, D.C., and Burlington, Vt., along with her older son’s partner. A writer, she initially ached for the quiet, empty house and was prone to stealing time early in the morning or in the middle of the night to work. She said the chaos her children brought made it feel like she was living in a college dormitory. Eventually, the five of them, including her husband, a teacher, settled “into a rhythm of parallel lives, relatively conflict-free.”