14 March 2009

Barely Boomeranging

Widespread acknowledgment of boomerang kids emerged in the '90s as the "return to the nest" became statistically noticeable. The statistics are not easily tracked, by the way, and so we rely on estimates. One of those estimates: half of young adults in the U.S. return to a parent's home at least once when employment or housing or marriage doesn't work out.

In the early 2000s, when college graduates had trouble finding work, the number of boomerang kids went up. We can expect something similar in May 2009, as new grads flood a job market that, at best, will be hiring back recently laid-off employees. (At worst, the lay-offs will continue in record numbers, so that new grads will not even have jobs to aim for.)

Boomerang kids have tended to return home for 6 months to 2 years following college, frequently using the time to save money for their "second launch." Future boomerangers will be more diverse. Some will come back with children, having lost a home and needing shelter. Some will come sans paycheck and will not even be able to be under-employed during their time with relatives. If resources have been depleted in the economic downturn, they may rely on family for more than the old standard of a year or two.

The lucky ones will come only to have a home base while they re-locate to new employment. Maybe just needing some storage space or a little help in emptying the last apartment and transporting to the next one. (Note that sometimes the storage requirement is slight; see photo.) The lucky ones will have unemployment checks and good, subsidized COBRA health insurance.

Whether the stay is short or long, the boomerang is often enjoyed by all parties, although admittedly, unemployment can put a damper on the fun. Boomerang kids who appreciate the shelter (and maybe the meals) are not resented by parents, who tend to be pleased to get to spend time with their offspring as adults.

© 2009 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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