"The Boomerang Generation - Kim Parker, Pew Research Center"

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PEW SOCIAL & DEMOGRAPHIC TRENDS
The Boomerang Generation
Feeling OK about Living with Mom and Dad
By Kim Parker, Pew Research Center
OVERVIEW
If there’s supposed to be a stigma attached to living with mom
Boomerang Children
and dad through one’s late twenties or early thirties, today’s
and Family Dynamics
“boomerang generation” didn’t get that memo. Among the
% saying living with parents at
three-in-ten young adults ages 25 to 34 (29%) who’ve been in
this stage of life has been … for
that situation during the rough economy of recent years, large
relationship
majorities say they’re satisfied with their living arrangements
(78%) and upbeat about their future finances (77%).
The sharing of family finances appears to have benefited some
25%
48%
young adults as well as their parents; 48% of boomerang
Bad
No
children report that they have paid rent to their parents and
difference
89% say they have helped with household expenses. As for the
24%
Good
effect on family dynamics, about quarter (25%) say the living
arrangement has been bad for their relationship with their
parents, while a quarter (24%) say it’s been good and nearly
half (48%) say it hasn’t made a difference.
Note: Based on 25-34-year-olds who
currently live with their parents or
To be sure, most young adults who find themselves under the
moved in with their parents
temporarily in recent years, n=121.
same roof with mom and dad aren’t exactly living the high life.
“Don’t know/Refused” responses
shown but not labeled.
Nearly eight-in-ten (78%) of these 25- to 34-year-olds say they
PEW RESEARCH CENTER Q30
don’t currently have enough money to lead the kind of life they
want, compared with 55% of their same-aged peers who aren’t
living with their parents. Even so, large majorities of both groups (77% versus 90%) say they
either have enough money now to lead the kind of life they want or expect they will in the
future.
One reason young adults who are living with their parents may be relatively upbeat about their
situation is that this has become such a widespread phenomenon. Among adults ages 25 to 34,
61% say they have friends or family members who have moved back in with their parents over
the past few years because of economic conditions. Furthermore, three-in-ten parents of adult
www.pewsocialtrends.org
1
PEW SOCIAL & DEMOGRAPHIC TRENDS
The Boomerang Generation
Feeling OK about Living with Mom and Dad
By Kim Parker, Pew Research Center
OVERVIEW
If there’s supposed to be a stigma attached to living with mom
Boomerang Children
and dad through one’s late twenties or early thirties, today’s
and Family Dynamics
“boomerang generation” didn’t get that memo. Among the
% saying living with parents at
three-in-ten young adults ages 25 to 34 (29%) who’ve been in
this stage of life has been … for
that situation during the rough economy of recent years, large
relationship
majorities say they’re satisfied with their living arrangements
(78%) and upbeat about their future finances (77%).
The sharing of family finances appears to have benefited some
25%
48%
young adults as well as their parents; 48% of boomerang
Bad
No
children report that they have paid rent to their parents and
difference
89% say they have helped with household expenses. As for the
24%
Good
effect on family dynamics, about quarter (25%) say the living
arrangement has been bad for their relationship with their
parents, while a quarter (24%) say it’s been good and nearly
half (48%) say it hasn’t made a difference.
Note: Based on 25-34-year-olds who
currently live with their parents or
To be sure, most young adults who find themselves under the
moved in with their parents
temporarily in recent years, n=121.
same roof with mom and dad aren’t exactly living the high life.
“Don’t know/Refused” responses
shown but not labeled.
Nearly eight-in-ten (78%) of these 25- to 34-year-olds say they
PEW RESEARCH CENTER Q30
don’t currently have enough money to lead the kind of life they
want, compared with 55% of their same-aged peers who aren’t
living with their parents. Even so, large majorities of both groups (77% versus 90%) say they
either have enough money now to lead the kind of life they want or expect they will in the
future.
One reason young adults who are living with their parents may be relatively upbeat about their
situation is that this has become such a widespread phenomenon. Among adults ages 25 to 34,
61% say they have friends or family members who have moved back in with their parents over
the past few years because of economic conditions. Furthermore, three-in-ten parents of adult
www.pewsocialtrends.org
2
The Boomerang Generation: Feeling OK about Living with Mom & Dad
children (29%) report that a child of theirs has moved back in with them in the past few years
because of the economy.
These findings are based on a new Pew Research Center survey of 2,048 adults nationwide
conducted Dec. 6-19, 2011, that explores the family dynamics and economics of multi-
generational living at a time when the number of multi-generational family households in the
country continues to rise.
A Pew Research analysis of Census Bureau data shows that the share of Americans living in
multi-generational family households is the highest it has been since the 1950s, having
increased significantly in the past five years.
1
Adults ages 25 to 34 are among the most likely
Rising Share of Young Adults
to be living in multi-generational households:
Living in Multi-Generational
In 2010, 21.6% lived in this type of household,
Households
up from 15.8% in 2000 (the vast majority were
% of adults ages 25-34 living in a multi-generational
living with their parents). The share of 25- to
household
34-year-olds living in multi-generational
30
%
households was at its lowest in 1980 (11%) and
27.7
has risen steadily since then, spiking upward
21.6
since the recession started in 2007.
20
In some cases, the economics of multi-
generational households can be beneficial for
both adult children and their parents. While
10
11.0
many young adults help defray their parents’
household expenses, living with mom and dad
can also be a financial lifeline. In 2010, the
0
1940
1950
1960
1970
1980
1990
2000
2010
poverty rate for young adults ages 25 to 34
who lived in multi-generational households
Source: Pew Research Center analysis of U.S. Decennial
Census data, 1940-2000 and 2010 American Community
was 9.8%. This compared with a poverty rate
Survey (IPUMS)
of 17.4% among young adults living in other
PEW RESEARCH CENTER
households.
2
1
For this analysis “multi-generational households” include households with: two adult generations (parents and adult children age
25 or older where either generation can be the household head); three generations (parents, adult children, grandchildren);
skipped generations (grandparents and grandchildren without parents); and more than three generations. By defining adult
children as age 25 or older rather than age 18 or older, 18- to 24-year-olds living at home are not treated as an adult generation.
2
“Other households” (i.e. non-multi-generational) include households with: one generation or two generations (parent or parents
and their child or children under age 25).
www.pewsocialtrends.org
3
PEW SOCIAL & DEMOGRAPHIC TRENDS
Financial Ties, but Not Dependency
Since the onset of the recession, the economic backdrop for young adults has been bleak. The
unemployment rate for the youngest workers (those ages 18 to 24) soared from 2007 to 2010
and has only come down slightly over the past year. Adults in their late 20s and early 30s have
fared somewhat better in the labor market, but they have felt the sting of tough economic times
in other areas of their lives. Many have had to settle for jobs they didn’t really want just to
make ends meet. Fully a third have gone back to school, and an equal share (34%) have
postponed either marriage, parenthood or both.
3
All of this economic upheaval appears to be
Adult Children, Parents and
giving rise to a protracted set of economic ties
Financial Ties
between parents and their adult children.
How much is your current financial situation linked
Among all adults ages 25 to 34, nearly four-in-
to your parents’ financial situation? (%)
ten (38%) say their current financial situation
Great deal/Some
Not too much/Not at all
is linked to their parents’ financial situation.
Some 18% say it is linked “a great deal” and
All 25-34
38
60
19% say it is linked “some.” The remaining 25-
to 34-year-olds describe the extent to which
Living with
53
46
parents
their current financial situation is linked to
their parents as “not too much” (20%) or “not
Not living
32
66
with parents
at all” (41%).
Notes: Based on adults ages 25-34 with at least one living
parent, n=433. “Don’t know/Refused” responses not shown.
Not surprisingly, young adults who are living
PEW RESEARCH CENTER Q26
at home see a stronger linkage between their
finances and those of their parents. Among
those ages 25 to 34 who live with their parents now or moved back in temporarily in recent
years, 53% say there is a great deal or some connection between their financial situation and
their parents’. This compares with only 32% of young adults who are not living with their
parents.
For the most part, young adults who say their financial situation is linked to their parents’ see
this as a benefit rather than a burden. Among 25- to 34-year-olds 72% say their parents’
financial situation has had a positive impact on their own financial situation. Only 25% say it
has had a negative impact.
3
For further analysis of how the recession has affected young adults in the labor force and in other aspects of their lives, see
“Young, Underemployed and Optimistic, Coming of Age Slowly in a Tough
Economy.” Pew Research Center’s Social &
Demographic Trends project, Feb. 9, 2012.
www.pewsocialtrends.org
4
The Boomerang Generation: Feeling OK about Living with Mom & Dad
In spite of the connection they see between their finances and their parents’, relatively few
young adults say they receive direct financial assistance on a regular basis from their parents
or other family members. Among adults ages 25 to 34, only 8% say they regularly receive
money or financial assistance from their family. The share is significantly higher for adults
ages 18 to 24 (34%). In addition, young adults who are enrolled in school are more highly
dependent on their parents for financial support (31% receive regular financial help) than are
those who are not enrolled (12%).
Other Key Findings
While much of this report looks at 25- to 34-year-olds, it also includes analysis of a
broader universe of young adults—those ages 18 to 34. This provides a larger sample
size and allows for deeper demographic analysis among young adults. There is little
variation in young adults’ living arrangements by gender or race. Among those ages 18
to 34, men (40%) are just as likely as women (38%) to live with their parents now or to
have moved back home temporarily. Similarly, there is no significant difference in the
share of young whites (38%) and young blacks (32%) who have lived with their parents
in recent years. Young Hispanics are slightly more likely to have lived with the parents
(45%), although this difference is not statistically significant.
Educational attainment is linked to living arrangements only for young adults in their
early 30s. Among adults ages 30 to 34, those without a college degree are twice as
likely as those who have graduated from college to be living with or have moved back in
with their parents (22% vs. 10%). Among those younger than 30, educational
attainment is not correlated with living arrangements.
Young adults who are not employed are more likely than those who are working to be
living with their parents or to have moved back home temporarily in recent years.
Among 18- to 34-year-olds who are not employed, nearly half (48%) have lived with
their parents. This compares with only 30% of those who are employed full time.
The youngest adults—those ages 18 to 34—who are living at home (or moved back in
temporarily in recent years) have a much more positive view than those in their late
20s and early 30s on how this has affected their relationship with their parents. Fully
41% of 18- to 24-year-olds say living with their parents at this stage of life has been
good for their relationship, while only 12% say it’s been bad for the relationship. The
18- to 24-year-olds who have lived with their parents are much less likely than 25- to
34-year-olds to say moving back home was an economic necessity.
www.pewsocialtrends.org
5
PEW SOCIAL & DEMOGRAPHIC TRENDS
Parents who say an adult child of theirs has moved back home in recent years because
of economic conditions are just as satisfied with their family life and housing situation
as are those parents whose adult children have not moved back home.
Census data show that during the recession years (2007-2009) the share of Americans
living in multi-generational households increased more among adults ages 25 to 34
than among any other age group.
About the Data
The general public survey is based on telephone interviews conducted Dec. 6-19, 2011, with a nationally
representative sample of 2,048 adults ages 18 and older living in the continental United States, including an
oversample of 346 adults ages 18 to 34. A total of 769 interviews were completed with respondents contacted by
landline telephone and 1,279 with those contacted on their cellular phone. Data are weighted to produce a final
sample that is representative of the general population of adults in the continental United States. Survey
interviews were conducted under the direction of Princeton Survey Research Associates International, in English
and Spanish. Margin of sampling error is plus or minus 2.9 percentage points for results based on the total sample
and 4.4 percentage points for adults ages 18-34 at the 95% confidence level.
For a more detailed description of the survey methodology, see
“Young, Underemployed and Optimistic: Coming
of Age, Slowly, in a Tough
Economy”.
Data on multi-generational family households comes from Pew Research calculations of the U.S. Census
Bureau’s American Community Surveys (ACS) in 2007, 2008, 2009 and 2010, provided by the Integrated Public-
Use Microdata Series (IPUMS). The trends on Americans’ living arrangements come from Pew Research
calculations of Decennial Census data from 1900 to 2000 also provided by IPUMS.
For this report, multi-generational households include households with:
Two generations: parents (or in-laws) and adult children ages 25 and older (or children-in-law); either
generation can “head” the household
Three generations: parents (or in-laws), adult children (or children-in-law), grandchildren
“Skipped” generations: grandparents and grandchildren, without parents
More than three generations
For a more detailed description of types of households and the methodology used for the Pew Research analysis of
Census data, see
“Fighting Poverty in a Tough Economy, Americans Move in with Their
Relatives”.
www.pewsocialtrends.org