Even discounting the impact of the Great Recession and the devastating COVID-19 business shutdowns like those imposed by Gov. Roy Cooper, it is startling to see the trend among 20-somethings, detailed in the chart below by Pew Research. In 1960, 29% lived with their parents, but the trend is steadily up, reaching 52% in the COVID-19 month of July 2020.

What’s happened to the excitement of moving out, rooming with friends and splitting the rent, working two jobs to have the cash to make it work? I just don’t buy that it’s all about the Great Recession and COVID. The trend says otherwise.

One possibility is that we’re seeing the result of pushing teenagers down the path of ‘you must go to college,’ putting them in the unemployment line after graduation if the economy is faltering or their degree has little-to-no marketability. Perhaps other 20-somethings are choosing to help mom and dad by contributing to the household. Sadly, there may be others who’ve entered adulthood with no purpose to drive their development and maturity.

Here at the John Locke Foundation, we urge lawmakers to make it easier for North Carolinians to earn a living by making fiscally sound, freedom-forward policy choices.  Our mission is to give every person — including these 20-somethings — a more clear path to economic stability and self-reliance. Ensuring greater economic opportunity will help those who are living at home not by choice, take that important step out onto their own.