Failure to Launch Can be a Good Thing

There’s a sudden increase in what they’re now calling Boomerangers, according to, in Young Adult ‘Boomerangers’ Head Home in Numbers:

More than one in 10 US parents with grown children say at least one of their adult sons or daughters has moved back home in the past year after living away, according to research by the Pew Research Center, which found that the recent recession has created a bumper crop of “boomerangers,” particularly between ages 18 and 34.

Why do we in the United States act like there’s something wrong with single adults living with their parents? That happens a lot in most other countries, and nobody thinks there’s anything wrong with it. Here, however, there’s stigma attached.

Why? Single people living alone vs. single people living with parents… who says one way is better than the other?

One thing most other cultures do better than ours is simple integration of generations. We separate generations. Kids with parents, teenagers with other teenagers, then college students, then single adults. Older people go into homes for older people.

Aside from the U.S., I’ve lived in Mexico, and I’ve lived in Austria. In both of those countries a lot of single adults end up living with their parents after college. It’s often a win-win situation.


  • Tyler says:

    Not always is it for the benefit of the child that they return home to life. When my father died I came back to live with my mother for a while because I wanted to help her and be there for her in her time of need. If it had been up to me I would have gone someplace warm and sunny.

    • Tim Berry says:

      Thanks Tyler, and of course it’s not always best. I like things taken case by case, because rules always generate exceptions. Tim

  • Silvio Revelli says:

    I’m italian and I live with my parents like 95% of 23years old boys and girls here. Probably Italy is the place where the sense of family (“la famiglia”) is at the maximum level worldwide. I believe that there’s anything wrong with it, and I smile when I read “failure” in this post’s .
    Here in Italy we are struggling against the degeneration of the phenomena; here [] a recent article where an italian minister suggests to impose 18yo to leave home.
    But you, out there (Sweden, USA), would be better to consider to not separate generation; (maybe this could help the number of psychologists out there)

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