Household formation remains slow despite some strides toward recovery in the past year, Census Bureau data indicates.

The rate lags behind historical norms, which experts say may be both cause a cause and an effect of the slow economy, according to the Washington Post. High unemployment and other factors discourage Americans from striking out on their own and lead more of them to live with family and friends, while also reducing housing demand and, potentially, other types of consumer spending.

The Pew Research Center reports that more than 20 percent of adults aged 25 to 34 are living with their parents or in another type of multi-generational household, the most since the 1950s. If the rate of new household formation had remained consistent through the recession, the news source notes, analysts estimate another 2 million apartments and houses would be occupied right now.

One major contributing factor to this trend is high student loan debt, according to the New York Times. The Consumer Financial Protection Bureau reports that outstanding education debt now amounts to more than $1 trillion, and the cost of education is set to grow even higher. As young American adults face these concerns, rental property management companies may see them continue to lease housing for longer than was previously typical.