Stay-At-Home Kids

Friday, January 27, 2012

 Katherine Newman, professor of sociology at Johns Hopkins University and the author of The Accordion Family: Boomerang Kids, Anxious Parents, and the Private Toll of Global Competition, studies adult children in 6 countries living with their parents for economic reasons.

professor of sociology at Johns Hopkins University and the 
author of
The Accordion Family: Boomerang Kids, Anxious Parents, and the Private Toll of Global Competition


Katherine Newman

Comments [18]

anna from new york

"American job-seekers start out with a major handicap"
Yes, just a tiny, tiny, tiny handicap - NO JOBS. If it isn't outsourcing, it's insourcing, but their own idiotic parents blame them.

Jan. 27 2012 11:51 AM
Sara from Riding on the LIRR

I just turned 29 and moved back 'home' last month because I could not pay my rent. I went to school in Brooklyn and lived in shitty apartments in for the next 6 years trying to make it being an artist. Being the oldest of not only my sisters, but all of my cousins, I prided myself on the one who went to art school an didn't have to move home! The past couple years Ive been scraping by artist assisting while apprenticing to tattoo. My assisting job ended because I could not commit the time they needed, but I wasn't making any money tattooing yet. I was working off the books and didnt qualify for unemployment. I tried to get public assistance and food stamps but there was some kind of proof I couldn't provide. No one considers an apprenticeship 'school' or job training and no one seemed to want to help me since I am white and don't have kids.
So I had to admit defeat and move back home. I keep telling myself that this is a transition, not defeat. But I'm almost 30, I haven't seen a doctor in 4 years, and I'm lamenting my 20s because I worked so so hard and was ALWAYS broke. I have taken, seriously 1 vacation. I only traveled for work, to work conventions.
I am scraping enough together to pay for my train tickets and as soon as I can I plan on getting an apartment with my boyfriend (also broke, but works full time at a shit job).

I am lucky enough that I am from long island and had the option. I dont know what i would of done if i didnt have this option. I have to say that I do enjoy my parents kitchen and living with more space in a nice house. Im also lucky that my parents live in sayville and not speonk where I went to high school. That commute would of been 20x worse.

Jan. 27 2012 11:44 AM
Andrew from Midtown Manhattan

I'm 22 years old. My parents sold the house and moved to the city so moving back home was not an option. I was aware that they were going to move and they were not changing their mind. When I graduated college, I moved to NYC literally the next day and was working that Wednesday following my college graduation. Moving back in with my parents was such a personal sign of failure that I did everything I could to find a job that could pay the rent.

Jan. 27 2012 11:24 AM

Maybe kids wouldn't have to move back home if the Korporate™ construct of unpaid internships was made illegal.

In what world is it alright to NOT pay someone for working???

Internships are a learning opportunity when you're IN school. Once, out of school EVERYONE should be PAID a LIVING WAGE!

LIVING WAGE = enough to pay average rent, buy food and go to the doctor.

Post-school, unpaid internships are unmitigated B*ll Sh*t!!

Jan. 27 2012 11:08 AM
anna from new york

These anxious parents have created this barbaric society. Can someone explain to this parent who thinks that everyone should be an illiterate computer geek that this society won't last much longer with yet another generation of zombies deprived any knowledge of history, sensitivity to sloganeering, understanding how societies work etc. There is a reason why social sciences and the humanities have been cultivated ... elsewhere.

Jan. 27 2012 11:04 AM
Ruth Lewin

When my husband and I were first married in the 70's, we were forced to move in to his parents twice due to a bad economy. Each time it was less than a year. It certainly was an adjustment, since we were expected to act like dutiful children during these stay. Can't think of a better incentive for us to "launch."

When my daughter divorced, she and her infant came to live with with us for a couple of years before going out on her own. During her stay, we acknowledged her adulthood, and it made a world of difference.

Jan. 27 2012 11:00 AM

I grew up in nyc in the 50's and 60's and young women lived at home until they married or became "old maids" and moved out on their own, but the old maid title didn't apply until you were around 30. The purpose of going away to college was to get a taste of life semi-independent but you came back home, males got a job and after working a couple of years moved out but females stayed longer.

Jan. 27 2012 10:59 AM
jgarbuz from Queens

TO Sheldon

The 30 years of post-WWII prosperity, soon to be known as the "Golden Age," was a FLUKE of history, due only to our overwhelming victory in WWII. This is not so uncommon in history. When nations or empires were victorious in war, the often had periods of prolonged prosperity, until equilibrium returned. Enemies were crushed or subdued and the victor could dictate terms of trade, etc. But such conditions invariably pass away.
We have to forget about the "Golden Age" of 1950-1990, and accept that there is a new equilibrium, and life is tough again. As it usually was.

Jan. 27 2012 10:59 AM
Fred L from Brooklyn

Regarding finding a worse/less than expected job, many low wage/unskilled jobs are especially hard to get. Factor in that literally hundreds of people apply for every opening, employers definitely are not interested in hiring college grads who will quit as soon as something better comes along.

Jan. 27 2012 10:58 AM
Jon from Brooklyn

American job-seekers start out with a major handicap.
Many American job-seekers from the middle class or lower middle class, especially in NYC, are competing against people from other countries who have comparable skills, but don't have the same debt-load to repay, since their respective countries actually subsidize secondary education and health-care. These people can do the same job for less money, because they don't have to pay as many bills as American job-seekers do.

Jan. 27 2012 10:58 AM
Robert from NYC

Ah, finalmente the "mammone" another italian cultural influence comes to America.

Jan. 27 2012 10:57 AM
MP from Brooklyn

There was a brief period in the early 90s when my parents had all four of us "children" (all in our 20s) living back at home. It was hell. It did not improve our parent-child relationships or our sibling relationships. A little distance over the past 20 years has vastly improved our relationships. I have great sympathy for both kids and parents who are stuck in this situation today.

Jan. 27 2012 10:55 AM
The Truth from Becky

Never a good idea. Help them maintain their own household you won't regret it.

Jan. 27 2012 10:54 AM
Sheldon from Brooklyn

The social contract has been turned on its head the last 25 years. 30 years ago, a blue collar worker could have had 2 kids and afford to buy a house and car in the city. Now, even with a degree, they are hard pressed to even afford a room.

Jan. 27 2012 10:54 AM
Vanessa from Upper West Side

It completely depends on how the family adjusts to the inter-generational living situation. Is there an appropriate division of labor? Are there rules which assure a more adult relationship between the participants? Is there an exit strategy for all participants? Many cultures value inter-generational living..

Jan. 27 2012 10:53 AM
Jo Ann Vincent from Fair Haven NJ

There are many reasons why young adult children move back in or do not leave. I think Some, certainly not all, are too comfortable with the standard of living/ comfortable surroundings they have at home. For some young adults they could be more independent But not live in the style they've been accustomed to. I think this is hinders their developement.

Jan. 27 2012 10:53 AM
jgarbuz from Queens

The "family" was the basic unit of survival long before there was "the state," and when states disintegrate, as they often have in the past, or cannot fulfill the promises of security that politicians made, the family once again becomes the last resort or refuge, assuming that some remnant of a family structure still exists.

Jan. 27 2012 10:52 AM
Julian from Manhattan

This is the result of the 1%'s vision of Manhattan and New York. When I returned from college in 1981, I was able to find apartments, even in Greenwich Village and the Upper East Side, for a couple of hundred dollars a month. There are hardly any apartments in the City that young workers can afford - a consequence of luxury over-development and the pushing out of the lower classes - was it worth it? Where will the low to middle class live?

Jan. 27 2012 10:52 AM

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