Adult children living with mom and dad in search of a launching pad to adulthood

Published: Thursday, Aug. 2 2012 7:00 p.m. MDT

Matt and Milanne Carpenter pack to move out of their BYU housing while their baby, Ayla, sleeps Wednesday, Aug. 1, 2012, in Provo, Utah. They are moving in with Matt's parents who will help tend Ayla while they save money and finish their schooling.

Tom Smart, Deseret News

PROVO — Matthew Carpenter spent Wednesday afternoon wrapping dishes in paper, putting clothes in boxes and taking textbooks off of shelves in anticipation of the big move he and his wife Milanne are making Friday.

Together with their baby, the couple is moving back in with Mathew's parents, joining the growing group of young adults doing what it takes to launch into successful adulthood.

"We are moving home because we need a babysitter, and we couldn't afford anything in the area," Mathew, a senior at Brigham Young University, said.

"It will be at least until December or January, that's what the plan is," he said. "I graduate in December and it will depend on if I can get a job making enough money where we can afford some place."

New figures were released this week showing that more and more young adults are returning to live with their parents, a trend born from the period now formally referred to as the Great Recession, according to the US2010 research project, which examines changes in American society in this century.

"The recession hit young adults the hardest because they were often 'last hired, first fired,'" study author Zhenchao Qian, a professor and chairman of sociology at Ohio State University, said in a statement released this week with the study. "Many young adults find it comforting to return home, to double up with their parents when times are tough."

Moving away from home is a right of passage to adulthood in America, but for those of the "boomerang" generation, those hit hardest by the economic recession, getting out and staying out has become harder than ever.

Among the findings of this week's report:

• 24 percent of Young adults ages 20 to 34 lived with their parents in the 2007 to 2009 years of the Great Recession, compared to 17 percent who lived at home in 1980.

• The percentage of those under age 25 living at home jumped from 32 percent in 1980 to 43 percent during the recession.

• From 1980 to 2009 the percent of 25- to 29-year-olds living at home rose from 11 to 19 percent.

• Nearly 10 percent of 30- to 34-year-olds lived at home with their parents in 2009.

The figures also revealed that more young men were living at home with their parents in the 20-34 age group,  26 percent compared to 21 percent of women.

"Although census data do not distinguish between young adults who never left home from those who return home, it is plausible that many older young adults may have returned home after a stint of independent living, especially during the Great Recession," the study's authors said.

Mathew Carpenter's father, Mark Carpenter, said having his son and daughter-in-law move into his house is temporary and makes sense for their situation.

"It costs so much for them to put gas in the car, to drive up from Provo to Salt Lake to do those things that would make even living in less expensive housing as expensive," Mark Carpenter said.

Milanne will be doing her nursing clinical in Salt Lake County in the next few months as well, so having help caring for their child, Ayla allows both to finish their education. " It's not just housing prices, its the overall economic prices, it’s the gas prices that have a factor in that too," Mark Carpenter said.

He added that he will always want to help his children regardless of their ages.

"We also keep the perspective of we want to help on a temporary basis not a permanent basis," Mark Carpenter said. "We're helping provide them a more solid footing to launch off of as they get into their career, not encouraging or enabling a long-term reliance or dependency."

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