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More nests filling back up with boomerang kids

Young adults moving home becomes a trend

Published: Tuesday, Aug. 26, 2014 1:15 a.m. CST
(Monica Maschak/mmaschak@shawmedia.com)
Jenna Olson, 19, and Jake Olson, 21, help prepare dinner Monday at their family's Sycamore home. The siblings moved back in with their parents when they moved from South Dakota in January, and they plan to take online classes through Kishwaukee College.

SYCAMORE – Since 21-year-old Jake Olson can’t afford to live on his own as he used to, he has moved back in with his parents in Sycamore.

Olson spent 2 years living in a dormitory and later in an apartment in North Dakota, while studying first at North Dakota State University his freshman year, then at the University of North Dakota his sophomore year.

When his parents moved from North Dakota to Sycamore in January, he packed his bags, too. He is taking online courses in botany at the University of Phoenix while working at Blumen Gardens in Sycamore.

“I’m saving money for school, life,” he said. “I’ll move out once I’m back at school this spring, hopefully.”

Olson might become part of a growing trend of boomerang kids – young adults who return to live with their parents after college. The number of people ages 25 to 34 living at home increased to 18.1 percent in 2012, which is double than numbers in 1980, according to a recent report from the Pew Research Center.

Another Pew report on boomerang kids finds that 78 percent of them do not have enough money to live the kind of life they would like, compared to 55 percent of their same-aged peers who did not live with their parents.

Some current Northern Illinois University students are already planning their future so they don’t end up back home. Chicago native and NIU freshman Luis Centeno wants to attend law school. While he hasn’t decided his major yet, he said he will get a job in whatever field of study he chooses before he heads to law school.

“I heard law school is competitive,” Centeno said. “Maybe my first year, I won’t get in.”

Lori Olson’s decision to allow her 21-year-old son and 19-year-old daughter, Jenna, to live with her at home wasn’t difficult. She estimated she paid about $5,000 for all of her children’s college tuition this year. Her kids do not pay rent but help around the house with chores and caring for their younger siblings.

“I wouldn’t want to be 19 again,” Lori Olson said. “These kids have a lot more pressure. Expectations were different 30 years ago: When you turned 18 or 19, you moved out.”

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