This LA Times story about Californians in their 50s and 60s moving back in with their parents has been making the rounds over the last day or so and for good reason – it’s yet another indication that, despite rising stock prices, rising home prices, and an improving economy, something is still seriously wrong here in the good ‘ol US of A.
It would seem the most surprising thing about this is that people actually agree to be interviewed on the subject like Debbie and Ron Rohr below who were photographed at the Salinas home of Debbie’s mother (at least Debbie had the good sense, apparently, to take down the
Peter Frampton Olivia Newton-John posters from her old room).
At a time when the still sluggish economy has sent a flood of jobless young adults back home, older people are quietly moving in with their parents at twice the rate of their younger counterparts.
For seven years through 2012, the number of Californians aged 50 to 64 who live in their parents’ homes swelled 67.6% to about 194,000, according to the UCLA Center for Health Policy Research and the Insight Center for Community Economic Development.
The jump is almost exclusively the result of financial hardship caused by the recession rather than for other reasons, such as the need to care for aging parents, said Steven P. Wallace, a UCLA professor of public health who crunched the data.
“The numbers are pretty amazing,” Wallace said. “It’s an age group that you normally think of as pretty financially stable. They’re mid-career. They may be thinking ahead toward retirement. They’ve got a nest egg going. And then all of a sudden you see this huge push back into their parents’ homes.”
Many more young adults live with their parents than those in their 50s and early 60s live with theirs. Among 18- to 29-year-olds, 1.6 million Californians have taken up residence in their childhood bedrooms, according to the data. Though that’s a 33% jump from 2006, the pace is half that of the 50 to 64 age group.
At first, this seemed like one of those stories where you’ve got a huge increase to a small number and that makes for a sensational headline and story, but the simple fact that there is now only an 8-to-1 ratio between 50-64 year olds and 18-29 year olds who live with their parents (and not as caregivers) seems pretty disturbing, at least to me.