Young people the world over are having a hard time finding steady work and making ends meet in the struggling economy, and as a result, many are returning home to live with their parents. One sociologist calls that phenomenon the "accordion family"because children leave home and return over and over again.
In some countries, the practice is so widespread that the birthrate has fallen significantly because young people aren't starting families of their own. In the U.S., it hasn't yet had a significant effect on birthrate, but the old expectations that children leave home at the age of 18 have gone out the window.
While the Japanese frown on the "accordion family" trend in their country and the Italians embrace it, Americans are largely ambivalent toward their children coming back home after college. Many parents say it's okay and they enjoy it, as long as their children are pursuing work or planning for their futures in the meantime.
"Most of our friends live in their parents' houses because they can't pay rent."– college graduate Andrea Martinez Westley
"If your children come home and they're making tracks toward the future, then it seems like a very reasonable likelihood that they're going to be fine. Then families feel quite comfortable about it. But if it feels indefinite, if it's not clear it's going to work out, if their plans don't materialize, that sets off a wave of anxiety in American households." - Katherine Newman, sociologist
1. What do you think the term “accordion family” might mean?
2. Why has it been hard for young people to find jobs in the past couple of years?
3. Do you know any young people who have moved back in with their parents after college?
1. Why do you think some people are worried about this "accordion family" trend in the U.S. and around the world? What does it say about the global economy and the future?
2. Could you see yourself moving back in with your parents after graduating high school, going to college or leaving home for a while? Why or why not?
3. Do you think job prospects for young people will improve? Why or why not?
4. What are some jobs that are easy to find? What are some jobs that have become harder since the recession started?