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Illustration: Eniola Odetunde/Axios

Nearly 30 million Americans are spending their 20s in the same place they spent their grade school years: at home with their parents.

The big picture: For the first time since the Great Depression, the majority of 18- to 29-year-olds have moved back home. Those living arrangements can come with a great deal of awkwardness and pain, but families across America are making the most of it.

"I’m worried about it," says Jeffrey Arnett, a psychologist at Clark University, who coined the term "emerging adults" for 18- to 29-year olds. "I think we all should be. The rates of being depressed and anxious have really gone up among emerging adults."

Reasons for moving home vary. The coronavirus recession has hit young people especially hard, and many are living with family because they've lost their jobs or haven't been able to find work after college or grad school.

Others wanted some company during lockdowns.

  • "You can’t imagine how great it is to hear that I’m in the majority of my generation," says Elsa Anschuetz, a 24-year-old working in public relations out of her childhood bedroom. "It is definitely not where I thought I’d be at this stage in my life, but, at least to me, it is definitely better than living in an apartment alone during this crazy pandemic."
  • "My friends who are at home or with friends in large roommate groups seem to be faring better than people on their own," says Alex Jang, a consultant in his early 20s who's living with his parents, grandparents, girlfriend and dogs in Orinda, California.

But there's a host of unforeseen consequences that come with moving back in with parents, young people say.

  • Kegan Zimmerman, a junior at the University of Minnesota who lived with his family for a couple of months early in the pandemic, says he had to boot his younger brothers off the WiFi to take Zoom classes.
  • "There was also an issue of feeling like you lose a piece of your personality or character," he says. "While moving back home during the pandemic makes sense and is seen as socially acceptable or even smart, it also means you are living with people who still see you as your 18-year-old self."

And for those in their late 20s, who likely had been living on their own for years, returning home can be even more painful. "It’s much harder, and it feels like much more of a retreat," Arnett says.

There are silver linings, one father tells me:

"I'm a dad who is happy to have his daughter and fiancé living with me. They pay the utilities and make me nice meals, and it makes it a lot less lonely here. ... I like the multi-generational thing. I know it won't last forever, but it makes life better for now."
— Robert Legge of Culpeper, Virginia

Go deeper

Erica Pandey, author of @Work
Nov 24, 2020 - Economy & Business

$10,000 to telework from Tulsa

Tulsa, Oklahoma, at sunrise. Photo: Jumping Rocks/Universal Images Group via Getty Images

If you're going to be working remotely for the foreseeable future and want to save some money on rent, you could move to Tulsa — and get paid $10,000 to do so.

Why it matters: Tulsa Remote — the Kaiser Family Foundation-funded program that's offering this perk to teleworkers — is a prime example of smaller cities attempting to leverage remote work to draw in talented professionals from the big, coastal metros.

Collins helps contractor before pro-Susan PAC gets donation

Sen. Susan Collins during her reelection campaign. Photo: Scott Eisen/Getty Images

A PAC backing Sen. Susan Collins in her high-stakes reelection campaign received $150,000 from an entity linked to the wife of a defense contractor whose firm Collins helped land a federal contract, new public records show.

Why it matters: The executive, Martin Kao of Honolulu, leaned heavily on his political connections to boost his business, federal prosecutors say in an ongoing criminal case against him. The donation linked to Kao was veiled until last week.

How cutting GOP corporate cash could backfire

Illustration: Aïda Amer/Axios

Companies pulling back on political donations, particularly to members of Congress who voted against certifying President Biden's election win, could inadvertently push Republicans to embrace their party's rightward fringe.

Why it matters: Scores of corporate PACs have paused, scaled back or entirely abandoned their political giving programs. While designed to distance those companies from events that coincided with this month's deadly siege on the U.S. Capitol, research suggests the moves could actually empower the far-right.

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