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Posted on Thu, Mar 22, 2012 : 8:45 p.m.

Boomerang Generation: Are you a member? Know one?

By Wayne Baker

Editor's note: This post is part of a series by Dr. Baker on Our Values about core American values. This week, Dr. Baker is focusing on the Boomerang Generation, a large percentage of young adults who move back in with their parents after living away from home.

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Just like the flight of a boomerang, young adults who moved out of their parents' households are coming back home. About three of ten young adults (29 percent) between the ages of 25 and 34 are now living with their parents, according to a new survey by the Pew Research Center.

The 1950s was the last time we saw the same percentage of adults living in multi-generational households, Pew analysts report. Since then, the figure has fallen steadily, reaching its lowest point in 1980 when only 11 percent of adults lived in multi-generational households.

When I was a young adult, returning home was something to be avoided at all costs. This wasn't because I had a poor relationship with my parents. It was simply the ethos at the time — and the economy was reasonably good, so one could find a job that paid a living wage. Not so today. The bad economy and poor job prospects are the main reasons why young adults are moving back home.

And it seems to be working out. Only 18 percent of young adults (ages 18-34) say that living with their parents has been bad for their relationships. About a third (34 percent) say it has been good for their relationships. Almost half (47 percent) say it hasn't made a difference one way or the other.

Are you a member of the Boomerang Generation?

Have your adult children come back to live with you?

How’s it working out?

Is any group less likely to return?

Young adults are returning home in droves, driven by a bad economy and dim employment prospects. We haven’t seen as many young adults living at home since the 1950s, according to the Pew Research Center. The Boomerang Generation includes a range of ages. More than half of the youngest group (18-24) is living with their parents, compared to 41 percent of those aged 25-29 and 17 percent of those aged 30-34.

But, beyond age, is any group less likely to … boomerang?

Are young men more likely than young women to be living at home?

Are white, black, or Latino young adults most likely to be living with their parents?

How about college grads versus those who didn't go to college?

GENDER? Young men and young women are equally likely to be living with the parents. Both men and women are equally likely to say it’s because of the bad economy, according to the Pew study.

RACE/ETHNICITY? There are few differences by race or ethnicity. The same proportions of young adults who are white, African American, or Latino are living with their parents. The only difference is that young whites and young Latinos are considerably more likely to have moved back home due to the poor economy, compared with young African Americans.

EDUCATION? Yes, it makes a difference. College graduates in the 30-34 age bracket are considerably less likely to be living with their parents, compared to their age peers without a college education.

If you are a member of the Boomerang Generation …

Do you fit these general patterns? What about your friends?

If you are a parent of adult children …

Have your kids come home? Do they fit these patterns?

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Originally published at, an online experiment in civil dialogue.

Dr. Wayne E. Baker is a sociologist on the faculty of the University of Michigan Ross School of Business. Baker blogs daily at Our Values and can be reached at or on Facebook.