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Study Explains Why So Many SoCal 20-Somethings Move Back In With Mom and Dad

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The trope of the twenty-something living with his or her parents because of expensive rents and failed job searches: It's less a parody than a sad trend for millions in their mid to late 20s, especially in Southern California.

About 1 in 5 25- to 29-year-olds nationwide lived with their parents during the Great Recession, which ended officially in 2009. But the number ballooned to almost 30% for the same age group in three key metro areas in Southern California during 2007 and 2009, a new study finds.

The report, titled "During the Great Recession, More Young Adults Lived with Parents" was written by sociologist Zhenchao Qian of Ohio State University.

The Oxnard-Ventura-Thousand Oaks and Los Angeles-Long Beach-Santa Ana metro areas ranked sixth and seventh respectively in the top 10 metro areas with the highest percentage of 25- to 29-year-olds living at home (both 28 percent). Riverside-San Bernardino-Ontario followed close behind at number 10 with 26 percent.

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The Los Angeles Times reported:

Qian's research, based on an analysis of census data, shows that the trend of young adults staying with their parents occurred across the U.S. but was strongest in large metropolitan where high living costs and high unemployment came as a double whammy. The top 10 metropolitan areas on his ranking included New York, Miami, Honolulu and El Paso.

Qian's findings showed that men were more likely than women to live at home, minorities more than whites, and those with less formal education. Qian proposed a few explanations, suggesting that men may be under less pressure to help with housework if they move back home and that:

Strong kinship ties among African Americans, normative patterns of extended family living among Latinos, and intergenerational family obligations among Asian Americans may also give rise to co-residence with parents, especially when compared with their white peers.

Of course, "virtually every demographic segment of the US population was affected," not just those in a period of "emerging adulthood."

Qian notes:

The late 2000s Great Recession was very large in duration, scale, and impact ...The job loss during the Great Recession was severe by historical standards and the average duration of unemployment was the longest in recent memory. The recession hit young adults the hardest because they were often “last hired, first fired.” Job losses during the recession spread beyond historically disadvantaged groups, such as racial and ethnic minorities and immigrants; they also were experienced among college-educated workers. Many young adults find it comforting to return home - to double up with their parents when times are tough.

Satires of the "emerging adult" are everywhere in popular culture: Charlize Theron's stunted ghost-writer in "Young Adult," the girls in Lena Dunham's "Girls," Todd Solondz's upcoming "Dark Horse," even in those silly Toyota Venza commercials where the parents are fun and active while the kids are maladjusted homebodies. Qian even started out his report referencing Matthew McConaghey's Tripp in 2006's "Failure to Launch." The general tone of all this attention is at once permissive and mocking of the moving-back-home trend.

But the metro areas with the lowest percentage of young adults living at home are those with smaller populations. So if you're tired of living in your childhood bedroom in Ventura (even if Mom insists on doing your laundry) maybe you want to consider moving to one of the cities on the bottom of the list: Boise City, Colorado Springs or Austin, anyone?