The Boomerang Generation

The boomerang, a remarkable invention, returns thrown objects back to their originators.

Hence, it is appropriate to call those in their mid-20s the boomerang generation. What is so astonishing is their conduct, their way of living. They are adrift in their career patterns and in their social and family life.

With the North American economy at best stagnating if not actually contracting, jobs no longer are plentiful. The competition for work is intense; even for those with post-graduate degrees, prospects for improvement are grim. Many young people do not know what to do. They are resigned to returning to their family home until the situation is clarified.

Staying at their parents’ home or coming back entails very profound consequences. Marriages are postponed. Over the most recent four-year period the median age for marriage among males has risen one full year. Also, this means that birth rates are falling too.

Most parents candidly are unhappy with the prospect of returning offspring. These parents then lack privacy, something they had just begun to enjoy. Mutually too, those moving back find that parental supervision is intrusive. Can they bring friends home, intimate or otherwise, without any questions? Should all be present for guests of either generation? Quite often the older age group looks askance at unmarried couples living together in their house.

The trigger for the boomerangs, of course, has been the bad economy, and consequently the weak job market. Most lack adequate resources, and for those with jobs, usually they live only from pay cheque to pay cheque. Also, housing accommodation has become very expensive. It is far less onerous to live at home.

The boomerangs want the lifestyle of their parents. The latter worked for decades to reach their current status, but younger people believe they are entitled to that now.

Certainly questions arise about sharing expenses. Do unemployed youngsters pay for accommodation? Is the family car available?

In general, the boomerang generation is self-centred and committed to self-indulgence. Expensive holidays and some luxuries are taken for granted.

Given what we know about the future, the boomerang generation better “smarten up” and accept a dose of reality. Moving back to the family home is merely postponing an inevitable readjustment.

Clearly, too, many have their priorities wrong at the present time.



Bruce Whitestone