Remember the bad old days and the effect on our grown children of the Great Recession (2008+). Remember stories about the worst old days and their effect on families during the Great Depression (1929+)? Well, the Pandemic Retrenchment (2020+) has, like those past economic disasters, brought many of our adult children home again. They're camping out with us--by themselves or with significant others; job hunting or working remotely, or re-assessing their future. The nest is refilled--like it or not. A Pew Research Center survey found the share of 18- to 29-year-olds living with their parents is now a majority of that age group and a larger majority than the past Recession or Depression.
All of which is a long way of saying, if your adult children have reclaimed their childhood bedrooms or are sleeping on a couch in the basement, you're not alone.
Not only aren't you alone, but we here in this country also aren't alone either. Across the Atlantic in Great Britain, the Centre for Research in Social Policy reported last fall "nearly two-thirds of childless single adults aged 20-34 in the UK have either never left or have moved back into the family home."
They've hung some numbers on it and some commentary on implications for the future:
Around 3.5 million single young adults in the UK are estimated to live with their parents, an increase of a third over the past decade, and a trend that is likely to accelerate as the economic and social impact of the coronavirus pandemic deepens.
The so-called “boomerang” phenomenon – young adults returning to their parents’ home until well into their 20s or early 30s – is now a permanent feature of UK society and likely to trigger a profound rethink of how many families live their lives.
Here's the word from one of the chief researchers:
“Children living at home well into their 20s is not a temporary phenomenon, it’s here to stay...A lot of young people will spend most of a decade of their lives living like this.”
The numbers here are bigger, of course, and surprisingly well-spread. Pew reports:
In July 26.6 million or 52 percent of young adults resided with one or both of their parents, up from 24 million or 47 percent in February. The increase was evident for all major racial and ethnic groups, men and women, and metropolitan and rural residents, as well as in all four main census regions. Growth was sharpest among the youngest age group, ages 18 to 24, and White young adults.
The question for those of us with refilled nests is, how do we cope? I'll tune into advice on that in future blogs. Meanwhile, here's one generic guide to the basics. It covers five pointers:
- Understand the Situation
- Don't Spend Your Retirement
- Agree on a Time Limit
- Remember Whose Roof You're All Living Under
- Accept That Your Child Isn't a Kid Anymore
photo: Maia Lemov