Speed Reads

over the river and through the woods

The average American only lives 18 miles from her mom

Going "home for the holidays" is probably only an 18-mile drive, if you're like the typical American. According to The New York Times, the average American only lives about 18 miles from his or her mother, and only 20 percent of Americans live more than a few hours from their parents by car.

"It speaks to a class divide in the population. Particularly as you go further down the socioeconomic scale, people are living pretty close to their parents, and this means they're able to provide help," economist Robert A. Pollak told The Upshot.

Families live closest in the Northeast and the South, and farthest apart on the West Coast and in the Mountain States. Part of the reason is probably cultural — Western families have historically been the least rooted — but a large part is geographical. In denser areas, people live closer together than in rural areas.

Married couples live farther from their parents than unmarried people, and women are slightly more likely to leave their hometowns than men [...] The most-cited reason for living near home is the tug of family ties, while the most-cited reason for leaving is job opportunities, according to a Pew Research Center survey. It found that with the exception of college or military service, 37 percent of Americans had never lived outside their hometown and 57 percent had never left their state. [The New York Times]

Read more of the findings in The New York Times.