Fairfield resident Emily Roseman found a lot of success in college. With five internships and good grades, the 23 year old, who graduated from American University in 2012 had the world in the palm of her hands. But a job, that was tough to come by.
So she moved back home, a mutual decision she came to along with help from her roommates – her mother and father.
“I was living in D.C. with no job prospects, so my parents felt it was financially as well as personally a smart choice to move home,” Roseman said Wednesday. After five months of searching for jobs, she landed a gig as a freelance producer for ABC News, and now she commutes to the city.
The move made a lot of sense, but there were parts of the plan that were a little hard to swallow for Roseman, who said that at one point it made her feel like she had “failed” herself and her parents. But living at home is no longer a sign of failure – especially not in Fairfield County.
Of all the metropolitan statistical areas in the nation, ours has the highest percentage of young adults who move back in with their parents, according to a study released last summer.
Across the country, 24 percent of adults between the ages of 20 and 34 lived with their parents between 2007 and 2009, as the Great Recession greatly affected job opportunities and outlook for young Americans, according to an August 2012 study out of Ohio State University. That’s a significant increase over the rate of the previous generation; in 1980, 17 percent of adults in that age bracket still called their mom and dad’s place home.
But 24 percent is child’s play compared to the rate here. In Fairfield County, 34 percent of millennials between the ages of 25 and 29 still lived with their parents, according to an August 2012 study. At one-in-three instead of the one-in-four national rate, the county surpassed every other metropolitan statistical area in the nation. And compared to Des Moines, which has the smallest percentage, Fairfield County has four times as many millennials staying at home.
“At first I thought I’d be alone, with no true friends back in my town since I left D.C.,” Roseman said. “But the first few months I noticed an overwhelming amount of kids back from my own high school that were in the same boat.”
According to the study, much of the reason younger folks are living at home at higher rates these days is because rental prices are so much higher these days, and marriage rates for 20-somethings are lower. Here in Fairfield County, millennials are faced with some of the highest costs of living in the nation, as well as a higher than average age for marriage, making the area the perfect storm for boomeranging.
And after a year of saving money and spending time with friends from high school after she commutes home from the city at night, Roseman said she has come to see that boomeranging was the best option for her.
“I know now moving home didn’t mean I failed. Rather if shows I’m responsible enough to know I’m not financially ready to live alone,” she said. And when she does make plans to move out in the near future, after her boyfriend completes his graduate studies, she’ll have a healthy nest egg to begin a new start.