Moved home in recession. When will you be on your own again?

Back in November, my MPR colleagues and I examined the issue of young adults moving home in the recession. It was a compelling package, driven by the voices of Minnesotans in MPR’s Public Insight Network.

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But we lost track of the issue until Allison Stratton dropped us a line recently with six words:

Pay cut, wage freeze. Parents’ house.

We’d been asking MinnEcon readers to tell us — in six words — what happened to their housing during the recession.

Stratton’s comments got us thinking about people we’ve talked to in their mid-20s or older who were hurt in the recession and needed to move in with family. The economy’s still pretty bad, but it’s better than last year.

So are people who moved home in 2008 and 2009 financially secure enough in 2010 to be back out on there own?

If you have a story to share, drop us a line.

Stratton 24, is an interior designer in the Twin Cities. She moved home in November when her apartment lease was up. She wrote us:

After my pay was cut 25% and a wave of lay-offs in my company, I decided it would be best to live with my parents until I felt secure. Now I feel secure, but haven’t been able to save any money, and need a raise before I can be on my own again.

She’s hoping to be on her own again by the end of the year, but added: “I don’t see myself moving out until I get my full pay back and get my savings back to what it should be.”

On the upside, she says work at her business is picking up, “so I hope that the financial struggles of the employees lessen soon.”

My friends and co-workers have all been affected by the economy in some way.

None of them have moved home, but they have all had to adjust their lives in some way. One friend took a job outside of her desired career path. Another took a part-time retail job while she built her own freelance client base. One friend had been stuck in a $9/hr internship for a couple years until he was able to land a bill collection job a few months ago.

My co-workers have had to cut back on their budget significantly. I think my student loan payments have put more of a strain on my finances compared to them. But, that is a separate financial issue for us quarter-lifers that I think needs to be addressed!

Regular MinnEcon readers know we’ve worried about new grads, their job prospects and what happens if they decide they can’t stay in Minnesota.

Stratton’s story reminds us that even for new grads with jobs, this recession has been a struggle.

Nationally, 13 percent of parents with grown children say one of their adult sons or daughters has moved back home in the past year, the Pew Research Center reported in March.

Social scientists call them “boomerangers” — young adults who move in with parents after living away from home. This recession has produced a bumper crop.

The current decline has been particularly steep among young women; the proportion who live by themselves fell by a full percentage point to 6.1%. Among young men, the share living on their own fell 0.2 percentage points to 8.4%, a statistically insignificant change.

Happily, Stratton said she has a “great relationship with my parents.They are very supportive and understanding of my situation.”

But it’s also “an emotional strain for me to owe them rent and be “mooching” off of them at this age!”

Here’s a survey from collegegrad.com that we highlighted in November. It found:

Among 2009 U.S. college graduates, 80 percent moved back home with their parents after graduation, up from 77 percent in 2008, 73 percent in 2007, and 67 percent in 2006….nearly 70 percent of recent grads did not have jobs lined up when they graduated.

Check out this cool video from MPR about moving home.

Here’s some good, quick advice from the blog, “Adult Children Living at Home,” about making this relationship work.

  • Sasha Aslanian

    I’d also be curious to hear from parents who have to move in with their adult kids. I heard about a story like this over the weekend. An older couple who have moved from their son’s house to their daughter’s. I guess this is how it used to be–and maybe independence in old age is a modern invention?– but seems fraught with role reversals…would love to hear some stories about this working/not-working.