The Dallas Morning News
By: Jeremy Bills
November 15, 2013
U.S. mobility for young adults has fallen to the lowest level in more than 50 years as cash-strapped 20-somethings shun home-buying and refrain from major moves in a weak job market.
The new 2013 figures from the Census Bureau, which reversed earlier signs of recovery, underscore the impact of the sluggish economy on young people, many of them college graduates, whom demographers sometimes refer to as "Generation Wait."
Burdened with college debt or toiling in low-wage jobs, they are delaying careers, marriage and having children. They are staying put and doubling up with roommates or living with Mom and Dad, unable to make long-term plans or commit to buying a home - let alone paying a mortgage.
Many understood after the recession that times would be tough. But few say they expected to still be in economic limbo.
"I'm constantly looking for other jobs," says Jeremy Bills, 27, of Nashville, Tenn., who graduated from Vanderbilt University in May 2011 with a master's degree in human and organizational development. Originally from Tampa, Fla., Bills has stayed put in his college town in hopes of finding a job in management consulting or human resources. Instead, he has mostly found odd jobs like pulling weeds and dog-sitting.
Among adults ages 25-29, just 4.9 million, or 23.3 percent, moved in the 12 months ending March 2013. That's down from 24.6 percent in the same period the year before. It was the lowest level since at least 1963. The peak of 36.7 percent came in 1965, during the nation's youth counterculture movement.
The past year's decline in migration came after a modest increase from 2011 to 2012, a sign that young adults remain tentative about testing the job market in other cities.
By metropolitan area, Portland, Ore., Austin and Houston were among the top gainers in young adults, reflecting stronger local economies. Among college graduates 25 and older, Denver and Washington, D.C., topped the list of destinations.
Demographers say the delays in traditional markers of adulthood - full-time careers and homeownership - may prove to be longer-lasting.
"Young adulthood has grown much more complex and protracted, with a huge number struggling to reach financial independence," said Mark Mather, an associate vice president at the private Population Reference Bureau. "Many will get there, but at much later ages than we've seen in the past. More and more, we're seeing many young adults routinely wait until their 30s to leave the parental nest." AP
More young adults staying put
Those ages 25-29 are moving less than they did 50 years ago.