The boomerang generation is now a middle-aged phenomenon. Thanks to the recession, an increasing number of middle-aged adults are moving home to live with their elderly parents.
UCLA professor Steven Wallace tells the Los Angeles Times: “The numbers are pretty amazing.” There has been a 67 percent increase in the number of middle-aged people moving back to their childhood homes. That’s twice the rate of increase found among young adults over the same time period (2006-2012).
Overall though, a higher number of young adults have returned home. TheTimes reports that 1.6 million Californians between 18-29 years-old have moved back in with parents versus 194,000 people aged 50-64.
In both cases the issue is unemployment. For young people graduating college, the problem is the inability to find a first job, or to find one which pays enough to move out on one’s own. For the middle-aged returnees the issue is long-term unemployment, i.e. people who have lost jobs or careers during the recession and who haven’t been able to rejoin the workforce.
Debbie Rohr, age 52, is one of the people who felt she had no choice but to move back in with her elderly mother after losing her job. Rohr, who is married and has two sons, told the Times, “I dreaded it. If it wasn’t for my boys I wouldn’t have done it. I would have lived in my car.”
(It turns out that Rohr’s husband did live in the car, at least for a while.)
Janine Rosales, age 53, struck a note of personal defeat in her interview with the Times saying, “I sit here sometimes and I see baby pictures of myself and my teenage years and remember all the dreams I had.”