The number of Californians 50 to 64 who live in their parents' homes has surged in recent years, reflecting the grim economic aftermath of the Great Recession.
By Walter Hamilton - April 20, 2014
The ranch-style house has a spacious kitchen that looks out on a yard filled with rosebushes. It's a modest but comfortable house, the type that Rohr, 52, pictured for herself at this stage of life.
She just never imagined that it would be her childhood home, a return to a bedroom where she once hung posters of Olivia Newton-John and curled up with her beloved Mrs. Beasley doll.
Driven by economic necessity — Rohr has been chronically unemployed and her husband lost his job last year — she moved her family back home with her 77-year-old mother.
At a time when the still sluggish economy has sent a flood of jobless young adults back home, older people are quietly moving in with their parents at twice the rate of their younger counterparts.
For seven years through 2012, the number of Californians aged 50 to 64 who live in their parents' homes swelled 67.6% to about 194,000, according to the UCLA Center for Health Policy Research and the Insight Center for Community Economic Development.
The jump is almost exclusively the result of financial hardship caused by the recession rather than for other reasons, such as the need to care for aging parents, said Steven P. Wallace, a UCLA professor of public health who crunched the data.
"The numbers are pretty amazing," Wallace said. "It's an age group that you normally think of as pretty financially stable. They're mid-career. They may be thinking ahead toward retirement. They've got a nest egg going. And then all of a sudden you see this huge push back into their parents' homes."
Many more young adults live with their parents than those in their 50s and early 60s live with theirs. Among 18- to 29-year-olds, 1.6 million Californians have taken up residence in their childhood bedrooms, according to the data.
Though that's a 33% jump from 2006, the pace is half that of the 50 to 64 age group.
The surge in middle-aged people moving in with parents reflects the grim economic reality that has taken hold in the aftermath of the Great Recession.
Long-term unemployment is especially acute for older people. The number of Americans 55 and older who have been out of work for a year or more was 617,000 at the end of December, a fivefold jump from the end of 2007 when the recession hit, according to the Bureau of Labor Statistics.
As with Rohr, those in their 50s move in only as a last resort. Many have exhausted savings. Some have jobs but can't shoulder soaring rents in areas such as Los Angeles or San Francisco.