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Posted at 02:18 PM ET, 03/15/2012

Boomerang kids don’t mind their roommates — err, parents

Not that long ago, continuing to dwell in your childhood bedroom in your mid-20s — let alone your early-30s — was considered the ultimate sign of failure. Today, it’s considered normal. In fact, the Pew Research Center declared it a “widespread phenomenon” that is embraced and understood.

Bryce Swanson, student body president at Eureka College, waits for his diploma. (Ron Johnson - AP)
Over the last few years, 29-percent of those between the ages of 25 and 34 have at some point moved back in with their parents, often because of the economy, according to a Pew report released Thursday. The vast majority said they were satisfied with the set-up and upbeat about their future finances.

This cohort is often called the “boomerang generation,” because some of them left home for school or work, just to boomerang back when money got tight. Boomeranging isn’t exclusive to one gender, race or socioeconomic group, as Pew found little variance across the board. And for those under 30, educational attainment also wasn’t a contributing factor.

The last few years have not been especially kind to many 20- and 30-somethings: Unemployment rates soared, student loan debt hit all-time highs and many college graduates reported settling for jobs that didn’t pay much or meet their interests, while others headed to graduate school. Of those surveyed by Pew, more than one-third reported having postponed marriage, parenthood or both because of the economy.

And to be clear: Boomerang kids, for the most part, aren’t free-loaders. For those between the ages of 18 and 34 who live at home, 96-percent reported that they do chores around the house, 75 percent contribute to household expenses and 35 percent pay their parents rent money.

You can read the full Pew report, here.

For more higher education news, you can also follow me on Twitter and Facebook. And here are some other articles that might be of interest:

Guest Column: “You might be a helicopter parent if...” (August 2011)

Chat transcript: Emory University’s Marshall Duke on parenting a college student (August 2011)

Health article: When a college grad moves back into the family home (June 2011)

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