January 31, 2012

THE GROWTH OF THE ACCORDION FAMILY. It’s a worldwide phenomenon, and it’s certainly on the upswing here in the United States. “In the United States, we have seen a 50-percent increase since the 1970s in the proportion of people age 30 to 34 who live with their parents. As the recession of 2008-9 continued to deepen, this trend became even more entrenched. Kids who cannot find jobs after finishing college, divorced mothers who can’t afford to provide a home for their children, unemployed people at their wits’ end, the ranks of the foreclosed—all are beating a path back to their parents’ homes to take shelter underneath the only reliable roof available. . . . They fall back into the family home because, unless they are willing to take a significant cut in their standard of living, they have no other way to manage the life to which they have become accustomed. Moreover, if they aspire to a professional occupation and the income that goes with it, a goal their parents share for them, it is going to take them a long time and a lot of money to acquire the educational credentials needed to grab that brass ring. Sheltering inside an accordion family leaves more money to pay toward those degrees.”