The Census report that one in seven Americans are living in poverty also found that more than 8 percent of people between 25 and 34 are living with their parents.
Compare that to this 2010 Pew study that estimated that 11 percent of 25-34-year olds moved back in with parents because of the recession (chart to the right).
The thing I want to say about this news, besides that it is sad, has to do with the New York Times Magazine article What Is It About 20-somethings?, which turned to developmental psychology to explain why young people were putting off marriage and financial independence.
Recently, somebody asked me why young people seemed to react so angrily to the article (FWIW, my reaction is here.) I think this graph, and the Census data that supports it, helps explain why.
Some young people might be putting off adulthood because of something in their brains and their blood. But the first-order reason why more 20-somethings aren't working is that there isn't enough work. We want to work. We want to grow up. We want have own own jobs and apartments and weddings and baby showers. But many young people cannot do those things right now, because the thing that pays for independence is employment, and one out of six Americans is broadly unemployed. Graduating into a deep recession is horribly frustrating, and it is doubly frustrating to read that the fault lies not in our economy, but in ourselves, and in something as ineffable as our inscrutable, mushy synapses.
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