Recession Has More Young Adults Boomeranging

November 24, 2009 ( - A recent survey by the Pew Research Center finds that 13% of parents with grown children report one of their adult sons or daughters has moved back home in the past year, joining the group social scientists call "boomerangers."

The proportion of “boomeranged parents” increases to 19% among those ages 45 to 54 and declines sharply in later age groups, according to the Pew report.

The survey found that overall, about 11% of all adults 18 or older live with their parents in their home, and 4% of all adults indicated they were forced to move back with their parents because of the recession. Six percent of those ages 18 – 24 said they moved back in with their parents because of the recession, and 11% of adults ages 25 – 34 said so.

About seven-in-ten grown children who live with their parents are younger than age 30. About half work full- or part-time, while a quarter are unemployed and two-in-ten are full-time students, the report said. Of all adults who currently live in their parents’ home, about a third (35%) reported they had lived independently at some point in their lives before returning home.

Roughly equal proportions of adult men and women live with their parents. A somewhat larger proportion of Hispanics and blacks than whites live with their parents.

The survey found that an additional 12% of young adults reported they acquired a roommate. Hard times are leading young adults to put their lives on hold in other ways as well, as 15% of adults younger than 35 said they have postponed getting married because of the recession, and an additional 14% said they have delayed having a baby.

According to Pew, Census Bureau data confirms that proportionately fewer young singles are living solo now than before the recession. Overall, the proportion of adults ages 18 to 29 who live alone declined from 7.9% in 2007 to 7.3% in 2009. Similar drops in the proportion of young people who live by themselves occurred during or immediately after the recessions of 1982 and 2001, the report said.

According to the Bureau of Labor Statistics, a smaller share of 16- to 24-year-olds are currently employed (46.1%) than at any time since the government began collecting such data in 1948. At the same time, college enrollment has soared to an all-time high. Pew said that taken together, record unemployment and growing college enrollments help explain why proportionately fewer young people today are living by themselves.

The Pew Research Center report is here.