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There have been many news stories over the last few years documenting the phenomenon of (relatively) young people who either never moved out of their parents' homes or have returned reato their parents after moving out for awhile.

Undoubtedly, some of this is due to the economy and some of it is due to a culture that allows young people to be treated as adolescents for an extended period of time.

However, there are two more reasons I think this has become so prevalent have more to do with demographics than with anything else.

First of all, most people coming of age these days do not come from large families. There have always been some children who never move out of their parents' home, but if one comes from a large family and has to share everything with siblings, it becomes much more of a goal for a young person to get to the point as quickly as possible to get to a point in one's life to finally have things of one's own. With fewer or only children, they already have this sense without having to move out to get it. Secondly, if one has 10 children and one never moves out, that's a much smaller percentage than a family that has two children and both live in the parental home well into adulthood. Furthermore, especially when it comes to only children, I believe that many have the idea that they will inherit what their parents have, and so why bother moving out or buying a house of one's own when, logically, that child may very well end up with the parental home in the long run anyway.

The other demographic reason that I believe that contributes to adult children staying with their parents is the prevalence of divorce among the parents. Divorce is now ubiquitous among the generation that now has adult children. Many of these people would rather have their adult children at home with them (and the adult children are willing to oblige) rather than to face so many years of being alone. Ironically, this situation often handicaps the children from being able to deal with adult relationships as adults.


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September 2013

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