Adults back at home call it ‘bump in road’ even as num­bers rise

The Washington Times Daily - - Nation - BY CH­ERYL WETZSTEIN

It’s been con­firmed: They are down with liv­ing in the base­ment.

About 30 per­cent of young Amer­i­cans age 25 to 34 who once left their fam­ily homes have moved back in, says a re­port re­leased Thurs­day by the Pew Re­search Cen­ter.

Not only is there no stigma at­tached to be­ing part of the “boomerang gen­er­a­tion,” but both par­ents and young adults seem to be OK with the ar­range­ments, said Kim Parker, au­thor of the Pew re­port.

Just 24 per­cent of the young adults said mov­ing home was “bad” for their re­la­tion­ships with their par­ents; an­other quar­ter said it was “good” for ev­ery­one, while the rest of the young adults said mov­ing home made no dif­fer­ence in their fam­ily re­la­tion­ships.

The trend of young adults re­turn­ing to their fam­ily homes had been grow­ing steadily since the 1980s, and surged in 2007, when the Great Re­ces­sion up­ended mil­lions of jobs and hous­ing sit­u­a­tions, the Pew re­port says.

Dur­ing the re­ces­sion, which of­fi­cially ended in June 2009, the num­ber of Amer­i­cans liv­ing in a multi­gen­er­a­tional home leapt from 46.5 mil­lion to 51.4 mil­lion, the largest in mod­ern his­tory, the re­port says.

The num­ber of 25- to 34-year-olds who re­turned home to live with their par­ents or grand­par­ents also rose, from a low of 11 per­cent in 1980 to nearly 22 per­cent in 2010.

This boomerang­ing of­ten eases fi­nan­cial con­cerns for ev­ery­one, Ms. Parker said. High num­bers of young adults are pay­ing for gro­ceries and do­ing chores, and 48 per­cent pay rent — which in turn is wel­comed by about 40 per­cent of their par­ents, the re­port says. In re­turn, the young adults ben­e­fit from liv­ing with oth­ers while they pur­sue good jobs or ed­u­ca­tion.

When will these boomerangers pack up their Ikea lamps and lap­tops again? The an­swer so far is, “We don’t know.”

The un­em­ploy­ment rate is still very high among young work­ers, Ms. Parker said. “If that comes down, and they’re able to get jobs, then this trend may not con­tinue. But we just don’t know that.”

And what about the, uh, un­mo­ti­vated young adults?

“I’m not say­ing they’re slack­ers, but there is a seg­ment that’s strug­gling even more” than oth­ers, Ms. Parker said. These in­clude young adults who don’t have a col­lege de­gree and aren’t in school and are less op­ti­mistic about their fu­ture and less likely to be in a job or ca­reer that they want.

For the most part, though, this gen­er­a­tion is very op­ti­mistic about their fi­nan­cial fu­tures even though they “hit a bump in the road,” Ms. Parker said. “They think that they’re go­ing to get where they want to be. It’s just go­ing to take a lit­tle bit of time.”

This sounds fa­mil­iar to Chevy Chase ther­a­pist Linda Perl­man Gor­don and non­profit leader Su­san Mor­ris Shaf­fer, who co-au­thored the 2004 book “Mom, Can I Move Back in With You?”

“The one big change since we wrote the book was the econ­omy fall­ing,” Ms. Gor­don said. Many adult chil­dren al­ready were mov­ing back into their par­ents’ homes, she said, but the re­ces­sion “made it ob­vi­ous to more peo­ple” and “nor­mal­ized it.”

Their book iden­ti­fies “char­ac­ter­is­tics of adult­hood” for young peo­ple to cul­ti­vate and for par­ents to look for “to make sure they are not en­abling chil­dren to be sup­ported well into their 40s,” Ms. Shaf­fer said.

For in­stance, “if you cod­dle your kids too much, it erodes their self-es­teem,” Ms. Gor­don said. “It’s not your re­spon­si­bil­ity to wake your child up in the morn­ing. If they have a job in­ter­view, it’s not your re­spon­si­bil­ity to send a thank-you card to the in­ter­viewer.”

The way an adult child can “get to where they want to go is hav­ing the self-con­fi­dence and re­siliency to know they can do it on their own, and ask­ing for help only when they ab­so­lutely need it,” Ms. Shaf­fer said.

The Pew So­cial and De­mo­graphic Trends re­port sur­veyed 2,048 adults na­tion­wide, with an em­pha­sis on adults age 25 to 34, in De­cem­ber.

Newspapers in English

Newspapers from USA

© PressReader. All rights reserved.