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Economy

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Grads flock home in sour economy

– The Class of 2008, born during the historic bull market that closed the past century, reached a dubious distinction last year: More than a million of the college graduates have gone back home.

The number of 26-year-olds living with parents has jumped almost 46 percent since 2007, according to Census Bureau data compiled by the University of Minnesota Population Center. Last year, the number of 18- to 30-year-olds living with their parents grew to 20.7 million, a 3.9 percent gain from 2010.

The figures underscore the difficulty that millions of young people have had in finding jobs and starting careers in the United States after the longest recession since the Great Depression.

About a quarter of American adults between the ages of 18 and 30 now live with parents, while intergenerational households have reached the highest level in more than 50 years.

“There’s been a shift in attitude,” said Kate Brooks, the career services director at the University of Texas College of Liberal Arts. “Parents are more accepting; some welcome it.”

Reflecting on the changing circumstances among 20-something adults, many of whom backed Barack Obama’s presidential campaign in 2008, Republican vice presidential candidate Paul Ryan suggested some may have second thoughts this year.

Not all young adults have “to live out their twenties in their childhood bedrooms, staring up at fading Obama posters and wondering when they can move out and get going with life,” he said at his party’s convention in Florida last month.

The number of unemployed Americans has surged 60 percent to about 12.5 million from 7.82 million in the first quarter of 2008, according to data compiled by Bloomberg.

The nation’s jobless rate, which peaked at 10 percent in October 2009, was 8.1 percent in August, compared with 5.1 percent in March 2008. But figures released Friday showed unemployment fell to 7.8 percent in September.

For Andrew Schrage, a 2008 Brown University graduate, returning to his parents’ Boston home was a matter of choice, not necessity. The 26-year-old co-owner of Moneycrashers.com, a Denver-based personal-finance website, was an adolescent when the bursting dot-com bubble ended an 18-year bull market marked by an almost 15-fold gain in the Standard & Poor’s 500 Index.

“I enjoy spending time with my parents and want to do so as much as possible, especially while they are younger,” Schrage said by email. He helps them with household bills and chores.

“I don’t have as much privacy as I’d like,” Schrage said on the downside of his living arrangements. “My parents like to make comments about lots of ‘little things,’ which can really get on my nerves.”

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