Thursday, 14 November 2013

'Boomeranging' Back Home


Parents dreaming of finally becoming empty nesters? Young adults finishing school and yearning for independence? According to a new study in Great Britain, it may not be happening as soon as we hope.

      A recent UK study has examined major life ‘turning points’ and factors that cause young adults to return to their parent’s home. Recently, the media has drawn a great deal of attention to the idea of an increase in young adults ‘boomeranging’ back to the parental home, although research for this phenomenon has been virtually non existent until now.  

      Drs. Juliet Stone, Ann Berrington and Jane Falkingham of the University of Southampton sought to clarify this seemingly backward transition, and examine these ‘turning points’ that contribute to the decision to return home.

      The researchers found that leaving higher education, relationship breakups and unemployment were all significant factors in young adults returning to live with their parents.

      Using the British Household Panel Study, which was created to examine changes in social and economic status of individuals between 1991-2008, the team was able to collect data from over 5,000 twenty and thirty year old males and females living away from home. Data was compiled on the young adults’ living situation, education, employment status, as well as relationship status and if they had children.

       In all categories, men were more likely than women to return home, most especially for males in their early twenties. To parents reading this article and groaning, there is light at the end of the tunnel– these findings decrease with age! Young adults returning to the parental home decreases rapidly once they reach their mid 20’s. 

The research also found that:
  •        Men and women who move out of student status are the most likely group to return home, even more so if unemployed after education.
  •        Men and women who move out of student status to employment are still highly likely to move home in comparison to those who remained still employed or still in school.

Another factor strongly related to returning to the parental home was relationship breakups, which are majorly influenced by gender and parenthood. The study demonstrated:
  •        Both men and women are more likely to return home after a break up than those who are single or in a new relationship
  •        After a break up, men with children are the most likely to return home, in comparison to women with children or dissolved partnerships with no children.

        For specific age groups, returning home is the norm if experiencing a certain ‘turning point’ in life. In reality,  ‘boomeranging’ as a young adult in their early 20’s due to completing school, a relationship ending or becoming unemployed is not uncommon.

       However, despite what the media says, the overall trend of  young adults returning home tends to be a relatively rare event, and has not significantly increased in the past few years, as we have been led to believe.

       So what does this mean for young adults and parents alike?  Parents, if you have a child finishing higher education with no current job prospects, it may be time to convert that new work out room you spent hours on back into the old bedroom.   

       For young adults, it may be wise to sit and discuss matters before returning home. While moving home can save money and relieve some financial burdens, this can often be a stressful time for both parents and children alike – impacting your relationships, as well as the identity you have previously formed while living independently.  Whatever the reason for your return home, be sure to thank your parents for so graciously opening their ‘nest’ up to you again, when you come flying back!

Need some tips on how to survive moving back in? Check out this link!

Stone, J., Berrington, A., & Falkingham, J. (2013). Gender, Turning Points, and Boomerangs:
         Returning Home in Young Adulthood in Great Britain. Demography, 1(10), 1-20. 

-Kendra Di Bacco

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