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Bonnie: Graduates are moving back home



This week, my sister decided to move back in with our parents after living away from our childhood home for three years. The timespan was long enough for my mom to redo her room into what she calls “the peacock room.” She kept my sister’s bed, threw out her other worn-down furniture, and decorated everything with peacocks.

At least she didn’t turn it into a home gym.

After my sister graduated college, she started working while she waited to hear back from the graduate programs she had applied for. She didn’t get in, and when she broke up with her long-term boyfriend, whom she lived with, she decided she didn’t have enough money to live on her own.

Needless to say, she wasn’t thrilled to move back in with our parents after living away from them for several years. She was used to being independent. This is a huge setback that happens to college graduates all across the country.

According to a study by the Pew Research Center in 2012, a record number of 36 percent of college graduates were living at home. This is an increase from the 32 percent that were living at home during the 2008 recession. This statistic is obviously from four years ago, therefore the number may have slightly changed.

What is interesting is that in 2012, the economy was improving from the recession in 2008. If the economy was improving, why were more students moving back home in 2012 than in 2007 when the economy was worse?

The main reason college graduates are moving back home is the cost of living and the increase of student debts, not the economy or the unemployment rate. Everything is too damn expensive, and college graduates are so far in debt that they have issues paying for everything.

In 2015, CNBC created a list of the top 10 best cities for college graduates. In order to make it, the writer considered statistics such as the millennial population, unemployment rate, median rent cost and nightlife of various cities. The problem with the list is that four of the cities mentioned are also included on CBS News’ list of top 10 most expensive U.S. cities: San Francisco, Seattle, Washington D.C and Boston.

Even though these cities are popular with college graduates, the cost of rent is too high for graduates to live comfortably. Even though the unemployment rate may be down, it doesn’t make it easier for a college graduate to pay expensive rent with the new job they may have obtained.

In a Slate article, Jordan Weissmann said, “When it comes to 20- and 30-somethings living with Mom and Dad, it’s possible we’re looking at something close to a new normal.”

This may be due in part to the fact that college loans are becoming increasingly high. Here at the University of Oregon, the tuition for in-state students is around $10,900 per year. For out of state students, it is about $34,000. That is not including the cost of living.

In a study conducted by two Federal Reserve Board economists, Lisa Dettling and Joanne Hsu, it was found that, “The rise of student debt and delinquencies could potentially explain about 30 percent of the increased frequency with which 20-somethings moved back in with their parents.”

So while the economy has been blamed for the reason college graduates are being forced to move back home, this may not be the real cause.

For graduates, such as my sister, it is not their fault that they must move back home after graduation. It can be hard to work enough to both pay off loans and pay for expensive rent. College graduates should stop blaming themselves for not making enough money to live. And parents of these college graduates should stop guilt-tripping them.

Just because our parents were able to move out of the house at 18, doesn’t mean we can. We are living in a different world, full of loans and expensive rent. There’s nothing we can do about it, so let’s just accept that we may have to move back to our childhood bedroom.


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Hannah Bonnie

Hannah Bonnie