The “Boomerang children” living at home with their parents

  • Most of the “boomerang children” who returned home during the pandemic come from high-income families, a new report found.
  • They are more likely to be unemployed longer and less likely to work on the coronavirus frontline.
  • It intensifies the growing inequality gap and labor shortage.

The pandemic evoked déjà vu for many young adults: They were living back in their childhood bedrooms. But it turns out that such a refuge can be a good economic cushion.

More than half (52%) of Americans aged 18 to 29 returned to live with at least one parent during the height of the pandemic in 2020. A New Cleveland Federal Reserve Bank Report found that the majority of these “boomerang children”, which include the older Generation Z and the younger Generation Y, come from high-income families who can help them “better withstand economic shocks.”

Analyzing the current population survey, the bank found that 36% of boomerang children come from families making more than $ 140,000 a year, the richest 20% of the income quintile. Meanwhile, only 10% of boomerang children are in the lowest income quintile of households earning less than $ 28,000 per year. And the majority of young adults who were not living with their parents come from families with incomes in the middle of that range.

This breakdown indicates that families were able to potentially provide ‘financial insurance’ to their young adult children, according to the report: household as low-income families both the additional costs of adding a person and the space constraints of the residences themselves. “

But this creates a lot of disparate effects among young workers.

Students and Knowledge Workers

Boomerang children were more likely to be currently in school than young adults who did not live with their parents. It makes sense – many colleges closed the doors to their campuses in a pre-vaccinated era, leaving many students who lived on campus with no choice but to return home.

The fact that a large portion of this cohort are students explains why they were also more likely to be unemployed. But even here, inequality resurfaces: High-income boomerang children were more likely to have a job than low-income boomerang children.

Boomerang children in general tend to stay unemployed longer – 60% of young adults who returned home were unemployed when they did, although a third did eventually find a job. This is less than the 45% of young adults not living with their parents who did not have a job at the same time that they later became employed.

This is probably because they don’t have the luxury of choosing that parental economic support offers the boomerang cohort. Boomerang children are more selective about the jobs they take and are less likely to work in jobs where they would be frequently exposed to the coronavirus, according to the report. In short, they are knowledge workers who can work remotely and can afford to wait for the right opportunity to arise.

Worsening inequalities and labor shortage

The divide ultimately exacerbated two of the pandemic’s big problems: the growing inequality gap and the labor shortage.

The rich only got richer and saw their jobs recover after the short span


. Meanwhile, low-income workers struggle to lose their jobs and pay their bills, finding themselves on the front lines of the coronavirus as essential workers. The chasm of wealth has resulted in a K-shaped recovery.

Workers on strike for better terms, a grand resignation in which millions of Americans quit their jobs and a wave of employees calling in sick with Omicron have created the perfect storm for a vast shortage of workers. The report suggests that growing inequality among young workers is also a factor in this equation.

“This situation limits the number of people willing to work in occupations with a relatively high risk of exposure to COVID-19, circumstances which, in turn, could create a shortage of workers in high-risk occupations that previously employed a high concentration of young people. workers, ”the report reads.

It seems that the socio-economic ladder is more and more difficult to climb.

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