The Great Recession took a terrible toll on the generation known as millennials--on our kids who were just coming out of college. Many of them landed up at home, sleeping in the twin beds of their childhood until they could find a traction in a career job and move on to independence. At least that is the assumption behind the numbers that sketch out the dimensions of the trend toward home.
A Pew Research Center study, released this summer, found that 36 percent of those aged 18 to 31 lived at home in 2012--the highest number in four decades. A poll from Twentysomething Inc. found that, among college seniors who graduated last May, 85 percent said they planned to move back home after graduation. That's up from 67 percent in 2006--even though the job market has improved for college graduates.
But now comes an article in the New York Times' Motherlode column that posits that economics isn't the only thing driving our emerging adults back to the nest. Kids today, suggests author RANDYE HODER, are closer to us--in tastes and emotionally--than we were to our parents. They want to be with us. It feels safe and supportive.
Here's how she spells out her thesis:
Many parents of millennials — we boomers — grew up in the 1960s and ’70s, when the “generation gap,” reflected in politics, culture, fashion and music, was the norm. Today, there is no such gap, or at least it’s a lot narrower than it was. In many cases, millennials and their parents share similar tastes in fashion and music (O.K., maybe not hip-hop), and our politics are often aligned.
My daughter and I shop together and sometimes share clothing. My husband has gone to concerts with both of our children, and I’ve worked on political campaigns with them. We share book recommendations, hike together and all enjoy going to the gym. The truth is, our kids seem to like hanging out with us, and we enjoy hanging out with them. We help to make them feel safe in a turbulent world; they keep us connected and make us feel alive and young.
Of course, technology plays a role, too. Even when they do leave, we are never out of one another’s daily lives. ....
There is no doubt that this tough job market makes living at home a practical, if not necessary, choice for many millennials (something I’ve addressed before). But being home is also undoubtedly made easier because millennials and their parents are close in a way that all of us should learn to embrace and celebrate.