Growing Number of Middle-Aged Californians Are Moving in With Parents Due to Financial Hardship

(Photo: Reuters)A multi-generational family.

A sign of the grim economic realities many people are grappling with in the sluggish economy is that a growing number of Californians between the ages of 50 to 64 have been painfully moving back home to live with their parents due to economic hardship.

The UCLA Center for Health Policy Research and the Insight Center for Community Economic Development revealed that the number of Californians in that age group who live in their parents' home increased by 67.6 percent to 194,000 for seven years through 2012, according to the Los Angeles Times.

"The numbers are pretty amazing," said Steven P. Wallace, a UCLA professor of public health who presented the data. "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."

Debbie Rohr, 52, was forced to make the painful trek home with her husband and twin teenage boys to her mother's home after chronic unemployment and her husband's job loss.

"I said, 'Mom, I'm so sorry but I don't know what to do,'" said Rohr. "I dreaded it. If it wasn't for my boys I wouldn't have done it. I would have lived in my car."

Jenny Chung Mejia, a public policy consultant at the Insight Center for Community Economic Development in Los Angeles agreed that the situation is particularly difficult for middle-aged adults.

"It's unexpected vulnerability at this point in your life," she said. "When you're supposed to be the provider, sort of the rock for yourself and your family and maybe your parents, the table just gets turned on you and the rug gets pulled out from under you."

A release from the UCLA Center for Health Policy Research highlight the more general study from which the data for middle-aged Californians were crunched.

It showed that in 2011, more than 2.3 million adult children in California were living at home with their parents for a variety of reasons including job loss, home foreclosure and divorce. That number was 63 percent higher than pre-recession figures in 2006. Some 433,000 older adults, ages 65 and older, housed approximately 589,000 of those adult children.

"A college degree is no guarantee of a job today, and an unprecedented number of families have been forced to return to a multi-generational household," said Wallace. "Until the economy provides the kinds of jobs that allow all adults to be self-sufficient, families will need help."

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