November 14, 2013

‘Generation Wait’: Mobility of young adults hits 50-year low

Burdened with college debt or toiling in low-wage jobs, they are delaying careers, marriage and having children – and they’re staying put.

By Hope Yen
The Associated Press

(Continued from page 1)

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Jeremy Bills works at his job as associate director at the Nashville Education Community and Arts Television office in Nashville, Tenn. Originally from Tampa, Fla., Bills received his master’s degree from Vanderbilt University and has stayed in his college town while trying unsuccessfully to find a job in his field of study.

The Associated Press

While homeownership across all age groups fell by 3 percentage points to 65 percent from 2007 to 2012, the drop-off among adults 25-29 was much larger — more than 6 percentage points, from 40.6 percent to 34.3 percent. That reflects in part tighter lines of credit after the 2006 housing bust. Declines in homeownership for those ages 40 and older over in that five-year period were more modest.

The District of Columbia, with its high share of young adults, had the lowest homeownership rate across all age groups at 41.6 percent, followed by New York at 53.9 percent. West Virginia had the highest homeownership rate at 72.9 percent.

In terms of births, the birth rate for all women of childbearing age — 63 births per 1,000 women — was essentially flat in 2012 from the year before.

Meanwhile, overall migration among adults 55 and older held steady at 4.4 percent from 2012 to 2013, up from a low of 4 percent in 2011. Metro areas with the biggest gains included Phoenix, Atlanta, Denver and several in Florida. Many cities in the Northeast, Midwest and coastal areas posted losses.

“The post-recession period has given a bigger boost to seniors than to young adults in their willingness to try out new places for retirement,” said William H. Frey, a demographer at the Brookings Institution who analyzed the figures. “Many young adults, especially those without college degrees, are still stuck in place.”

“For them, low mobility might be more than a temporary lull and could turn into the ‘new normal.’”

The wait continues for Eric Hall, 30, of Decatur, Ga. After picking up a master’s degree in public health in 2008, Hall moved from California to the Atlanta suburb with the plan of living with his parents for about six months.

Five years later, after struggling to find work in his field and switching his career path last year from health management to teaching kindergarten, Hall has opted to remain at his parents’ home until he can pay off more debt. He is now studying to earn a doctorate in education, amassing college debt of more than $110,000.

“It’s a bit restraining after going away to college two times, but I’m saving and my mom’s been very understanding,” said Hall, who is optimistic he’ll soon be financially stable enough to live on his own. “Maybe next summer.”

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