April 9, 2012 Dylan Ratigan

The Accordion Family: Why Are Young Americans Moving Back Home?

“Leaving the Nest.”  It’s a term most parents are happy to say once they proudly send their kids out the door and into the world when they head off to college.   According to Pew Research, returning home after college is more common than ever before, with three out of ten young adults ages 25 to 34 living at home with one or both of their parents.

Katherine Newman, author of The Accordion Family: Boomerang Kids, Anxious Parents, and the Private Toll of Global Competition, details the reasons behind the “moving back home” trend with Dylan and the Megapanel on The Dylan Ratigan Show. She is professor of sociology and James Knapp Dean of the Krieger School of Arts and Sciences at Johns Hopkins University, and has written numerous books on middle-class economic instability, urban poverty, and the sociology of inequality.

Newman points to a number of factors driving kids back home, including globalization, the difficult economic situation in the U.S., and a weakened welfare state.  “Labor markets have really taken a tumble and young people have been the most hit.  So, the entry level worker is in bad shape, housing prices are rising, and that combination forces young people either back into the family home, or they didn’t get to leave in the first place,” says Newman.

“What we have here in the U.S. is two generations side by side — one for whom this is a common experience.  85% of today’s college students will come home at some point or other,” says Newman, but sometimes feel pressure because their parents generation was more likely to leave the home permanently after college.

Interested in learning more? Check out this expert of The Accordion Family, courtesy of Beacon Press.  You can also order the book at Amazon.com.

Introduction, The Accordion Family

Meg Robertson is a digital producer for DylanRatigan.com.

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