19 July 2008

Boomerang Kids: The Boom's Extra Boom

Boomers' extra booms. The baby boomlet is the famous large bulge of population of young people produced by boomers (peaking on college campuses in 2015), but there's another boom, albeit from another word. Boomerang, referring to the toy that returns to its thrower after being launched, describes another set of boomer offspring: adult offspring who return to the family home.

Noticed in the 1990s. Some boomerang kids were college grads in search of work, others were non-students who thought they wanted to move out of the home, only to find costs too high. The result was that many young people were moving back in with mom and dad, or mom and step-dad, or dad and step-mom, etc. While families and boomerangers themselves feared a stigma of failure and immaturity, early research found a different reality: most parents enjoyed having their adult children back in the home.

When mama is happy... Another finding was that the boomerang was well tolerated if the mother in the household was OK with it. This shored up an old axiom that I don't care to defend but nevertheless acknowledge: if mama ain't happy, ain't nobody happy. Keeping the family satisfied and even happy is possible when the stay is measured in months (as opposed to years). That's where national economic conditions come into play.

Are kids still boomeranging? They are, with expectation that the current economy will impact the most recent college graduates who are currently job seeking. It's always good to look for the broader perspective and this Euromonitor International clip assures us that the concern is global. Keep in mind that many cultures do not expect young people to leave the family home as early as American society does. Still, when the age of interest is "over 25," we do see the markings of an international issue.

On a personal note: The clip places me at UNT, which is two schools back. Witness the permanency of some things on the web.

© 2008 Mary Bold, PhD, CFLE. The content of this blog or related web sites created by Mary Bold (www.marybold.com, www.boldproductions.com, College Intern Blog) is not under any circumstances to be regarded as professional, legal, financial, or medical advice. Or education advice. Or marital advice. Or even a tip.

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