Failure to Launch, featuring Matthew McConaughey and Sarah Jessica Parker, was an entertaining 2006 film about a 30-something who lived with his parents. The parents hire an "interventionist" (that would be Sarah J.) to persuade their baby boy to leave home. But this hilarious silver screen comedy is becoming a not-so-hilarious real world problem.
A recent US Census study found that more and more young adults are moving back home or never moving out. The percentage of 25- to 34-year-old men living at home rose to 19% in 2011, up from 14% in 2005. The percentage of women in the same age group rose from 8% to 10% in the same period. In the 18- to 24-year-old bracket, 59% of men and 50% of women live at home.
But while Matthew McConaughey's character had a nifty job (he also had a nice car and was something of a boating connoisseur), the home dwellers of today typically aren't so lucky. Young adults have the highest unemployment rates of any segment of the US population, according to the most recent data from the Bureau of Labor Statistics.
How bad is it? For 18- and 19-year-olds, the unemployment rate is 24% (compared to 8.5% overall). The rate is 13.4% for people ages 20 to 24 and 10.3% for those 25 to 29. Yes, it's bad.
Personally, I think this seems like a great opportunity for multi-generational family units to reemerge and reestablish themselves as support units. Who needs Sarah Jessica Parker? Not family-oriented Generation Y! Well, while reading the comment section on a page I was using for research, I came across a commenter who strongly disagreed with me:
All three of my forty something children are on Social Security Disability for one reason or another. If they show up at the doorstep, they'll be met by a shot gun. This past generation is the laziest bunch of entitlement seekers the USA has ever produced. They wait for the state paid cab ride to the methadone clinic, and return home to wait for the government check in the mail. Part of that amount goes to cigarettes, lottery tickets, and movies from Netflix. They are in no position to help their minor children lead a normal upbringing because they are still children themselves, and the next generation goes down the toilet.
It might just be that I've never experienced whatever frustration comes with financially supporting children for their entire lives, but this post just came across as too absurd to ignore.
Fortunately, surveys show that not many parents pull shotguns on their children. About six out of 10 have provided their children with some sort of financial aid. A small number put themselves into debt to help their children. Others delay retirement, which seems even to me to be going a bit too far. Like everything else associated with this recession, moderation seems to be the key.
Give a little, take a little... Hope your kids say "thank you" and hope they eventually get places of their own.