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It’s official: Boomerang kids aren’t just a fad, they’re a reality. The New York Times Magazine just came out with a story chock full of scary statistics. It profiles America’s youth, back in their childhood bedrooms, maybe even for good. The interview subjects all cite the usual reasons — the bleak economy, cost of living — but they also acknowledge that returning to your parents house is a crutch. It’s true, as living at home is certainly cheap, and you don’t have to worry about grocery shopping, and laundry, but at the same time, the article questions whether or not it means our generation is failing.
So, the statistics: 1 in 5 people in their 20s and early 30s currently lives with his or her parents. 60% of all young adults receive financial support from them (so I guess I don’t have to feel guilty that I plan on being part of my “family plan” until I have a family of my own). A generation ago, only 1 in 10 young adults moved home and received financial support. While we may not have a lot going for us, we do have the highest debt burden of any graduating class in history. Nearly 45% of 25-year-olds have outstanding loans, with the average debt above $20,000. Finally, more than half of us are unemployed and underemployed. Welcome to the real world. Now, that’s a Post Grad Problem.
Unfortunately, once we finally get the job of our dreams (one that actually requires a degree, even if it’s not the degree we received), the negative impact of the recession will never fully leave us. Studies show that 20 years from now we’ll still be feeling it (and by we, I mean our future paychecks). Over the last 30 years, everyone’s economic independence has been going down the toilet, slowly but surely. By 2007, fewer than 1 in 4 young adults were married (despite what you might think from your Facebook notifications), and 34% relied on their parents for rent money.
So, what does that mean for the boomerang generation? It’s here to stay. They may say if you love someone let them go, but we’re all coming back to our childhood homes, making it possible for our helicopter parents to fly over us for eternity. Despite the fact that these statistics are rather dreary, studies show that our generation thinks we’ll be better off than our parents, and able to afford the lives we aspire to lead. Agree to disagree. It’s making people ask whether being a boomerang kid means you’ve failed at life permanently, or if it makes perfect sense because living on your own is so overpriced and expensive. While no one has the answers, it could be good conversation for the dinner table, so be sure to bring it up tonight with your parents.
[via New York Times]