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Lack of Jobs After College: Graduates Moving Back Home with Parents

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While college dorm life is still considered the first time many young people experience the world away from mom and dad, college graduates are moving back home with their parents in record numbers.

If you have a college degree but you’re sleeping in your childhood bed and enjoying your mom’s cooking each night, you’re not alone. High rent prices and student loan payments, coupled with low entry-level salaries or—worse yet—unemployment, are causing more and more college grads to live with their parents.

College Graduates Moving Back Home in Record Numbers

This past May, The New York Post reported that a poll conducted by a consulting firm found eight out of 10 college graduates planned to move back home. The New York Times points out that recent U.S. Census Bureau data has 14.2% of young adults living with their parents, up from 11.8% just four years ago, and The Chicago Sun-Times reports that an astonishing 19% of American men between the ages of 25 and 34 are living with their parents. Approximately 10% of young women in the same age group are living at home.

America’s Families and Living Arrangements: 2011, the report from which these news sources gathered their information, is enough to make anyone feel a little less embarrassed about shacking up with mom and dad. Getting married, buying a home, and starting a family after college have been put on hold for most young adults, and the stigma once attached to moving back home after college—or never leaving at all—is gone.

Young Adults Living with Their Parents for Years

Although most college grads believe that living with their parents again will be temporary, New York Life reported that Monster.com’s 2009 Annual Entry-Level Job Outlook found roughly 40% of 2008 college grads were still living with their parents while a whopping 42% of the 2006 graduates surveyed were still living at home.

TIME even jokes “Guess moving back home isn’t limited to philosophy majors anymore.” Books have been written about the topic, such as Mom, Can I Move Back in With You?: A Survival Guide for Parents of Twentysomethings by Linda Perlman Gordon and Boomerang Nation: How to Survive Living with Your Parents…the Second Time Around by Elina Furman.

“Graduates are not the first to be hired when the job markets begins to improve. We’re seeing shocking numbers of people with undergraduate degrees who can’t get work,” Rick Raymond of the College Presidents of America told TIME.

Problems Related to Living With Your Parents

There may be no shame in living with your parents, but one professional believes it’s fodder for problems. “Anything that happens during a stage in which you were supposed to move out in which something happens and you had to move back in, there is usually an increase in risk for problems,” Dr. Martin Drell of the Louisiana State University Health Sciences Center told WWL radio. Young adults that had been looking forward to moving out and being successful can experience a letdown which affects their self esteem.

However, he also added that his practice is slightly less concerned about potential disaster now that the trend of moving back home has become so common. “This is a phenomenon which is happening more and more, and is really a change in the development course of kids their age,” he says.

Young Adults Not Fueling the Economy

Another pitfall of college graduates moving back home with parents? They aren’t spending as much as most people do when they move. Mark Zandi, chief economist at Moody’s Analytics, told The New York Times that paying fees like rent and renters’ insurance along with cable and Internet bills, and purchasing traditional household items like beds, shower curtains, pots and pans, and the like help fuel the economy. Young adults that boomerang back to mom and dad don’t have to spend money on those things.

Some economists feel optimistic, believing that many young adults are reluctantly living with their parents. “Once we get a little bit of job growth, or even expectations of better job market, those households are going to start breaking apart pretty fast,” Zandi told The Times.


Melissa Rhone+

Melissa Rhone earned her Bachelor of Music in Education from the University of Tampa. She resides in the Tampa Bay area and enjoys writing about college, pop culture, and epilepsy awareness.

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