It's no secret that young adults today are experiencing milestones — purchasing a home, getting married, having a child — later in life compared to previous generations.

Joe Raedle, Getty Images

But a new report from the U.S. Census Bureau digs even deeper and finds a statistic that's hard to ignore: A quarter of 25-to-34-year-olds still living at home are considered "idle" — meaning they have no job or schooling to attend.

More than 2 million older millennials fall in this category nationwide, according to the report. The majority are men and most are aged 25 to 29. About half are white.

"In 2005, the majority of young adults lived independently in their own household, which was the predominant living arrangement in 35 states. A decade later, by 2015, the number of states where the majority of young people lived independently fell to just six," the report said.

In New Jersey, most young people are not living independently.

Reacting to the report, Rutgers sociology professor Deborah Carr said the word "idle" conjures the image of lazy adults sitting on the couch all day, playing video games.

"That's not actually the case," she said. "People doing nothing all day feel bad about it."

It's important to note a quarter of this "idle" group is considered disabled, either physically or mentally.

"I think the important thing is just to think about what forces are putting them there, and one very major one is the economy," Carr said. "It's very hard to find a job today that pays enough money to make rent, never mind put together a down payment on a home."

A little more than a third of the group in question completed some form of college; most have a high school diploma or less.

"For those who have the burden of paying for their college staying with them even after they graduate, living in a parent's house might provide a bit of a financial cushion," Carr added. "You see young people today who really are facing an uphill battle in a way that their parents did not."

The report noted today's younger adults are better educated than their peers 40 years ago. More than one-third of 25-to-34-year-olds in 2015 attained a college degree or higher compared to less than one-quarter in 1975.

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Contact reporter Dino Flammia at dino.flammia@townsquaremedia.com.

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