(NewsNation) — Many Americans have hit a brick wall post-graduation, struggling to find jobs, even with a college degree; while others are struggling financially due to student loan debt and looking for affordable rent. This has led to an increase in “boomerang kids” moving back home with their parents.
“It’s called a ‘boomerang kid’ — that’s someone who leaves home and then comes back,” Stacy Kaiser, a psychotherapist, explained. “I am seeing more of that than ever before.”
The start of the pandemic triggered a massive wave of boomerang kids returning home, and now an estimated 67% of that group are still at home.
Zoe Czerenda is back in her childhood bedroom in Connecticut, more than three years since graduating from college. Now, the 25-year-old regrets the bedroom color she picked as a teenager.
“It’s this God-awful blue that I decided to paint it when I was 13, 14 years old,” Czerenda recalled. “This pink carpet has been here since they moved here when I was in my mom’s stomach.”
Czerenda wasn’t planning on working remotely from her parent’s home, but she has student loan debt and makes less than $55,000 a year working for a pharmaceutical company.
According to Pew Research Center data, 25% of young adults between the ages of 25 and 34 are living back at home with family — a major shift from 9% in 1971.
“They say you’re supposed to make three times your rent to afford it; I don’t,” she said. “Most of the people who I graduated with live at home with their parents, a lot of them also work full time.”
Czerenda’s parents don’t blame her. They know it’s a different world now.
“When I got out of college, I was able to get a car, a job and an apartment and it bothers me that it’s difficult for our children now to be able to do that,” said Mike Czerenda, Zoe’s dad.
According to Kaiser, ground rules should be set before a boomerang kid returns.
“That might include things like paying rent or having to have a job, or making sure that you participate in chores so that you are a part of the community in the house and not just getting a meal ticket,” she said.
Zoe hopes to be on her own again within a year, but her parents have no timeline.
“I’m not that mom that can just say, get out, you’re on your own, you can do this, bye! I can’t; I just can’t do that,” said Julie Czerenda, Zoe’s mom.
“Everyone I know lives with someone or at home,” Zoe said. “It’s weird that it’s the norm, but it`s also a very comforting thing to know that I had a family to come home to.”