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Generation Stuck: The Boomerang Generation

Kat and Sam, the two radio diarists for WBUR's special series, Generation Stuck.

Kat and Sam, the two radio diarists for WBUR’s Generation Stuck series.

Radio Boston kicks off its portion of WBUR’s special series, Generation Stuck.

We’ll talk about how a significant portion of 20-somethings are returning to live with their parents. A WBUR/AMP Agency nationwide poll found that nearly 30 percent of 23 to 29 year olds live at home.

One of the two Gen Stuck diarists, Kat, reflected:

It’s embarrassing to the extreme. For the year that I lived at home, I hated running into family friends, friends of family, stuff like that. They’d be like, “Oh! What are you doing? Didn’t you go to Tufts? Why are you living at home doing the grocery shopping for your mother?” I’m like, “‘Cause I’m thoughtful…and unemployed.”

Sam, the other diarist, realized living with his father is a double edged sword:

It’s comfortable, but it’s uncomfortably comfortable. You’re supposed to have like your own space that you can be in control of and I don’t have that. That messes up your mind and the way that you organize your thoughts.

Despite the challenges, Sam is reluctant to move out:

Right now, I mean, I could do it — it’s just I’m scared to because I feel like if I do then I’m running the risk of actually ending up worse off than I am. The whole point of me moving up here was so that I could grow and move forward and not take two steps back instead.

We speak with a developmental psychologist about the perils of returning home and with a economics and culture writer about how the recession has really taken a toll on the millennials.


  • Jennifer Tanner, a developmental scientist whose specialty is emerging adulthood. She’s a visiting research assistant professor at Rutgers’ Institute for Health, Health Care Policy and Aging Research and co-chair of the Society for the Study of Emerging Adulthood.
  • Jordan Weissmann, associate editor at The Atlantic. He co-authored the piece, “The Cheapest Generation,” which appeared in September issue.


Other stories from this show:

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  • IsaacWalton

    Sorry if this seems rude, but I am afraid at how unprepared these recent college grads are for LIFE. It’s as if they were raised with expectations that they would GET a job. Raised to believe it would be HANDED to them. And so they are POORLY equipped to be resourceful. I have no pity for them.

    • http://www.facebook.com/profile.php?id=13004066 Lauren Schumacher

       And who do you think raised us with these expectations: wolves?

  • IsaacWalton

    Blame your parents for over inflating your esteem. You are ENTITLED to nothing. Frankly I’m glad it’s tough for this stuck generation. The cream will rise to the top. It’s the PURE DEFINITION of a FREE MARKET—repubs should be happy so many college kids are being challenged with rising above the rest.

    • http://www.facebook.com/profile.php?id=13003466 Mike Hachey

      Comments like this ignore the big picture. Sam’s problem isn’t that he’s unemployed, it’s that he’s underemployed. He is in a job that he’s overqualified for. When a college grad can’t find a job in the white-collar labor market, he or she takes a job in the blue-collar labor force (in Sam’s case, waiting tables). This removes a job opportunity for someone who is less skilled than Sam, exacerbating joblessness among those who only have a high school diploma (if that). A high rate of unemployment and underemployment among recent college graduates signifies a step backward in our economic progress. Wagging your finger at individual young people for lacking ambition misses the point entirely. Joblessness among the young is a generational problem that has an impact on the entire economy. Screaming “ENTITLEMENT” as if that word has the talismanic power to banish the specter of difficult policy questions misses the point, rather spectacularly.

      • http://www.facebook.com/profile.php?id=13004066 Lauren Schumacher

         Yes. This.

  • http://www.fibrowitch.net Jan Dumas

    I have a couple of questions for the Generation Stuck bloggers:
    * What was your degree in?
    * What was your GPA? 
    * Is there a career path in your chosen field?
    * Did you do an internship in your chosen field?

  • anonymous

    this is a message for kat. i work in the public health research field. and after over 20 years of work experience i still don’t have my dream job. but i have a good job and good benefits. and i do good work. there’s work out there kat. it may not be in international health (you need AT LEAST a master’s degree for that if not more) but there are research jobs in boston. you won’t make a lot of money at first. i didn’t when i started out either. you may have to answer phones, or file, or do data entry, but you’ll get experience. i wish you luck.

  • screwyou

    I love all the smug and condescending comments made by older generations about how we must feel entitled. You had the privilege of living in an era where hard work, a college degree, etc. was worth something, that is no longer the case. I’d like to see you spouting off from your ivory tower if you had to construct your life under our dire circumstances, many of us have decent college degrees too i.e. I didn’t major in basket weaving, and still cannot find work. So please, kiss my ass because you had it so easy by comparison. I’d rather look to Depression-era folk for inspiration because these Boomers have their head shoved so far up their ass, they have no idea what struggle is. Boomers are so damn out of touch with our current reality, they still think gas is 50 cents a gallon and a quarter can buy you an entrance to the movies with popcorn and a soda. Maybe if you make some time when you’re not getting stuck on cruise liners or going to the AARP for your free t-shirt, you can actually investigate how bad it is out there. You’re not the one struggling to make a living wage at the moment so you should probably keep your shitty opinions to yourself. 

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