Adult children living with parents on rise

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By Angela Mapes Turner


FORT WAYNE, Ind. —

Christy Landrigan never expected to be living with her parents at 25. But she doesn’t regret it.

“I don’t have any debt right now, and I don’t know how many 25-year-olds can say that,” she said. “I consider myself very lucky.”

Landrigan, of Fort Wayne, belongs to a growing number of adults who have moved back in with their parents. Adult children living at home climbed from 19 percent to 22 percent in Allen County between 2000 and 2010, according to recently released census figures.

When her parents, Michael and Rebecca Landrigan, were married, they were 21 and 20, respectively. Michael Landrigan said they went from their parents’ homes to their married home.

But Christy Landrigan’s father said her moving home has been the logical way for her to take control of her finances during a difficult economic time.

Landrigan had a full-time retail management job — complete with benefits and a 401(k) — when she graduated from high school in 2005 and began attending classes at Indiana University (IU).

Landrigan, the second-oldest of six, said her parents set an expectation with all their children that they would go to college and pay for college themselves. She began her studies in political science and economics, with the intention of becoming a lobbyist.

After more than a year of trying to juggle her 40-hour-plus-overtime workweek and 15 college credit hours, she decided to move to Bloomington to attend IU full time, with the intention of quitting her job.

Her company fought to keep her and offered her moving expenses and a promotion. But when she arrived in Bloomington, the company had an issue with her plan to attend school full time.

She quit school and decided to live and work in Bloomington — for a while.

She moved home, back to her childhood bedroom and to classes at IU.

CollegeGrad.com, an entry-level job search website, says its online surveys have shown an annual increase since the middle of the last decade of college graduates moving home after graduation. In recent years, online media have devoted themselves to the phenomenon, creating resources for parents and adult children alike.

Knowing her situation was common didn’t make the decision easier, Landrigan said. There are those who tell her she needs to move out in order to grow as a person. She’s read articles about “boomerang kids” and “extended adolescence,” terms she rejects because she believes they imply adults who live with parents are a societal drag.

In the economic downturn, she’s watched many of her peers endure pay cuts and take jobs without benefits.

Landrigan said the experience has drawn her closer to both her parents and her siblings at home.

“The small degree of freedom I’m giving up is completely meaningless in the grand scheme of things,” she said.

So far, it has been a fairly smooth experience for both daughter and parents; if occasionally the house seems full, the inconvenience is countered by family togetherness the Landrigans wouldn’t have otherwise.

“The day she moves out, I’ll cry,” said her father, Michael Landrigan. “It’s a lot of fun.” — AP