‘Boomerang Kids’ are helping out financially

Sabri Ben-Achour Mar 15, 2012

Tess Vigeland: More young adults are living at home than any time since the 1950s. And you know what? They don’t feel bad about it. A study by the Pew Research Center says we are rolling out the welcome mat for the “Boomerang Generation.”

Marketplace’s Sabri Ben-Achour reports.

Sabri Ben-Achour: In his rush to get to work in Vienna, Va., Kevin Jacokes, has forgotten something.

Pat Anderson: Is this yours?

Kevin JacokesOh thanks.

His roommate hands him his phone.

Jacokes:  My roommate is my mother.

Kevin’s 23, and has a job — but he still lives at home.

Jacokes: It just seemed like financially the best decision. Even though I have a job, when I look at how much it would cost to live on my own, I just wouldn’t be able to save any money.

Mom is happy to have him, and he does pay a little bit of rent.

Jacokes:  To sort of cover some of the shared groceries and housing and utilities and all that.

Ben-Achour: So you’re not a total freeloader?

Jacokes: Yes exactly.

Kevin is part of what Kim Parker calls the “Boomerang Generation.” Parker is associate director of the Pew Social and Demographic Trends Project.  She says 40 percent of young adults 18 to 24 live at home.

Kim Parker: It really rose dramatically during the years of the recession.

It’s a tough world out there for young people. In fact, young people who don’t live at home are more likely to live in poverty.

Parker: So it may not just be a convenient setup for some young adults — it may actually be an economic lifeline.

But it’s not just the recession. This is something much bigger.

Katherine Newman: It’s really a long U-turn, if you will.

Katherine Newman is dean of Arts and Sciences at Johns Hopkins University; she’s written about this. Multigenerational living has been on the rise since 1980. More people are going to college or further, and it takes longer to reach the standard of living kids grew up with. And besides, living with mom and dad isn’t as bad as it used to be.

Newman: You go to a Rolling Stones concert and you see two kinds of people there — the gray hairs and the young people.

I’m Sabri Ben-Achour for Marketplace.

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