Into the Red and Back to the Nest? Debt and Returning to the Parental Home among Young Adults

Jason N. Houle, Dartmouth College
Cody Warner, Montana State University

In this paper we make two primary contributions to the literature on “boomeranging”, or returning to the parental home. First, we provide one of the first examinations of the prevalence and correlates of boomeranging among a recent cohort of young adults. Second, we test the hypothesis that student loan and credit card debt increase the risk of boomeranging. To do this, we use data from the National Longitudinal Survey of Youth 1997 Cohort (NLSY-97) and discrete time event history models to examine the link between debt and risk of returning to the parental home. We find that approximately 40% of young adults who become independent in our sample return home between 1997-2011 (7.6% annually). We also find key sociodemographic correlates of returning home. However, we find no support for the popular hypothesis that debt in young adulthood is associated with the risk of returning home, or boomeranging.

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Presented in Poster Session 4: Children and Youth/Population and Aging