Here's Exactly How Many College Graduates Live Back at Home

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The unemployed college graduate moving back in with his parents has been a stock figure of the past few years, helping to cement the Millennials' reputation as the "Boomerang Generation." But how many young grads are returning to live with their mom and dad (or their aunt or uncle)? 

The number to remember is 45 percent. What share of recent college graduates were living with family in 2011? It's 45 percent. How much higher was that figure than in 2001? Also 45 percent. That's the conclusion from Census data crunched for The Atlantic by Pew economist Richard Fry, the author of a recent report on young adults and debt. It's bad -- about on par with the unfortunate results Pew found via a poll of young adults in 2012. But it's not as bad as the bogus 85 percent figure CNN, Time and The New York Post breathlessly reported last year.

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If you expand the age range a bit, the trend looks even more dramatic. A full 61 percent more college-educated 18-34-year-olds were living with their families in 2011 than in 2001. And as the chart shows, the boomerang effect is strong for young people, whether or not they went to college.

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Jordan Weissmann is a senior associate editor at The Atlantic.

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