Boomers’ bust: Number of California adults moving in with parents explodes
At a time when many Americans are cashing in their nest eggs in preparation for retirement from the corporate rat race, an increasing number of Californians between the ages of 50 and 64 feel as if they are just starting over.
Instead of jetting off to a well-deserved retirement in a sunny clime, a large number of Americans from the country’s largest state are now forced to move back in with their parents – sometimes back into the same bedrooms they remember as children, according to research from the UCLA Center for Health Policy Research and the Insight Center for Community Economic Development.
Since 2005, the number of older Californians who reside in their parents' homes skyrocketed 67.6 percent to about 194,000.
The leap is almost entirely the result of financial difficulties connected with the 2008 recession, Steven P. Wallace, a UCLA professor of public health who organized the data, told the Los Angeles Times.
"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."
The numbers also lend some credence to the belief in an American ‘golden age’ when well-paying middle-class jobs were the norm. Indeed, the so-called American dream has turned into a nightmare for many as older people are moving in with their parents at twice the rate of their younger counterparts.
The UCLA study shows that 1.6 million Californians in the 18 to 29 age bracket have taken up residence in their childhood bedrooms, a 33 percent jump from 2006. That stands in marked contrast with the 67 percent increase in those aged 50-64.
The people on the front lines of the socioeconomic transition say it forces individuals and their families to take a somber look at the new realities, which are increasingly different from their earlier expectations.
"It's unexpected vulnerability at this point in your life," Jenny Chung Mejia, a public policy consultant at the Insight Center for Community Economic Development in Los Angeles, told the Times. "When you're supposed to be the provider, sort of the rock for yourself and your family and maybe your parents, the table just gets turned on you and the rug gets pulled out from under you."
Part of the problem is connected to the fact, supported by data, that older people have a tougher time finding new employment after losing a job.
The number of Americans 55 and older who have been unemployed for a year or more was 617,000 at the end of December, according to the Bureau of Labor Statistics.
The number is five times greater as compared to statistics taken at the time the Great Recession was making landfall.