GOOD

Stop Worrying About Boomerang Kids—Help the Ones Who Can't Move Home

More young adults than ever are moving back in with their parents. They're not the ones we should be worrying about.


A couple of weeks ago, the Karl Rove-affiliated PAC American Crossroads released an ad assailing Obama for being "cool." Flashes of Obama's most endearing, charismatic moments are intercut with sobering statistics, including this one: 85 percent of recent college graduates move back in with their parents.

This statistic is a gross exaggeration—a Pew Research Center study in March found that only 39 percent of adults 18 to 34 said they lived with their parents recently, and after age 30, college-educated kids were less likely to live at home than their uneducated counterparts. Still, the American Crossroads statistic was clearly meant to instill rage about the faltering economy, aimed squarely at Baby Boomer parents who have raised Boomerang kids. The video adds to the bipartisan fretting about young adults who live with their parents—they're spoiled, they're hurting the consumer economy and the housing market, they're traitors to the adventurous, independent American spirit. But a slew of recent research suggests that while Millennials are indeed bearing the brunt of a dismal economy, the Boomerang kids are the lucky ones. And so are their parents.


A new report from the Melbourne Institute found that wealthy young adults are more likely to live with their parents than their less privileged peers, because their families are the ones who can afford to take them in [PDF]. Perhaps this is why Pew found that more than three-quarters of young adults ages 25 to 34 who have moved back home say they're satisfied with their living arrangements and upbeat about their future finances. They're the ones who will ultimately land on their feet by using their families' networks and resources—yet another recent survey of recent graduates found that one in 10 are digging into their parents' professional contacts to get jobs. These numbers may be rising because of the recession, but these are safety nets the middle and upper classes have always had. It's also a move non-Americans have been making for years, even in sunnier economic times.

Middle- and upper-class Boomer parents aren't usually suffering as a result of this phenomenon, either. Despite anecdotal evidence to the contrary, Pew found that almost half of Boomerang children say they have paid rent and almost 90 percent have helped with household expenses. At this point, the caricature of the Millennial moocher belies the much more nuanced, pragmatic reality. Pooling resources and accepting help isn't necessarily a sign of extended childhood so much as a smart recession-era move. Privileged kids are doing what they have to do to survive, and research shows they're not planning on staying home forever, either.

All of that is why our culture should spend less time worrying about the "spoiled" Boomerang kids, and more time helping the ones who don't have that option. Their parents are suffering the consequences of the economy, too, and can't afford to welcome them back. These are the young adults who need to leave their houses and work by necessity, who can't afford college, who are being left high and dry, who will ultimately suffer most from the recession. They're the ones who could benefit from an increase in the minimum wage, or grants for college, or housing subsidies. The kids at home are all right—maybe not now, but they probably will be. The kids on their own? They could use the concerned energy going into all the hand-wringing over Boomerang kids.

Illustration by Andres Guzman.

Articles

The healthcare systems in the United States and the United Kingdom couldn't be more different.

The UK's National Health Service is the largest government-run healthcare system in the world and the US's is largest private sector system.

Almost all essential health services in the UK are free, whereas in America cost can vary wildly based on insurance, co pays and what the hospitals and physicians choose to charge.

A medical bill in the US

One of the largest differences is cost. The average person in the UK spends £2,989 ($3915) per year on healthcare (most of which is collected through taxes), whereas the average American spends around $10,739 a year.

So Americans should obviously be getting better care, right? Well, the average life expectancy in the UK is higher and infant mortality rate is lower than that in the US.

RELATED: The World Health Organization declares war on the out of control price of insulin

Plus, in the U.S., only 84% of people are covered by private insurance, Medicare or Medicaid. Sixteen percent of the population are forced to pay out of pocket.

In the UK, everyone is covered unless they are visiting the country or an undocumented resident.

Prescription drugs can cost Americans an arm and a leg, but in the UK, prescriptions or either free or capped at £8.60 ($11.27).

via Wikimedia Commons

The one drawback to the NHS system is responsiveness. In the UK people tend to wait longer for inessential surgeries, doctor's appointments, and in emergency rooms. Whereas, the US is ranked as the most responsive country in the world.

RELATED: Alarmingly high insulin prices are forcing Americans to flock to Canada to buy the drug

The New York Times printed a fair evaluation of the UK's system:

The service is known for its simplicity: It is free at the point of use to anyone who needs it. Paperwork is minimal, and most patients never see a bill. … No one needs to delay medical treatment until he or she can afford it, and virtually everyone is covered. …

According to data from the Organization for Economic Cooperation and Development, the United States spent 17.2 percent of its economic output on health care in 2016, compared with 9.7 percent in Britain. Yet Britain has a higher life expectancy at birth and lower infant mortality.

Citizens in each country have an interesting perspective on each other's healthcare systems. UK citizens think it's inhumane for Americans have to pay through the nose when they're sick or injured. While Americans are skeptical of socialist medicine.

A reporter from Politics Joe hit the streets of London and asked everyday people what they think Americans pay for healthcare and they were completely shocked.

Health

Bans on plastic bags and straws can only go so far. Using disposable products, like grabbing a plastic fork when you're on the go, can be incredibly convenient. But these items also contribute to our growing plastic problem.

Fortunately, you can cut down on the amount of waste you produce by cutting down on disposable products. And even more fortunately, there are sustainable (and cute) replacements that won't damage the environment.

Coconut bowls


Cocostation

Who says sustainable can't also be stylish? These cute coconut bowls were handmade using reclaimed coconuts, making each piece one of a kind. Not only are they organic and biodegradable, but they're also durable, in case your dinner parties tend to get out of hand. The matching ebony wood spoons were polished with the same coconut oil as the bowls.

Cocostation Set of 2 Vietnamese Coconut Bowls and Spoons, $14.99; at Amazon

Solar powered phone charger

Dizaul

Why spend time looking around for an outlet when you can just harness the power of the sun? This solar powered phone charger will make sure your phone never dies as long as you can bask in the sun's rays. As an added bonus, this charger was made using eco-friendly silicone rubber. It's win-win all around.

Dizaul Solar Charger, 5000mAh Portable Solar Power Bank, $19.95; at Amazon, $19.95; at Amazon

Herb garden kit

Planter Pro

Put some green in your life with this herb planter. The kit comes with everything you need to get a garden growing, including a moisture meter that helps you determine if your herbs are getting the right amount of food to flourish. All the seeds included are certified to be non-GMO and non-hybrids, meaning you can have fresh, organic herbs right at your fingertips.

Planter Pro's Herb Garden Cedar Planter, $39.00; at Amazonedar Planter, $39.00; at Amazon

Reusable Keurig cups

K & J

Keurig cups are convenient, but they also create a ton of plastic waste. These Keurig-compatible plastic cups are an easy way to cut down on the amount of trash you create without cutting down on your caffeine. Additionally, you won't have to keep on buying K Cups, which means you'll be saving money and the environment.

K&J Reusable Filter Cups, $8.95 for a set of 4,; at Amazon

Low-flow shower head

Speakman

Low-flow water fixtures can cut down your water consumption, which saves you money while also saving one of the Earth's resources. This shower head was designed with a lighter flow in mind, which means you'll be able to cut down on water usage without feeling like you're cutting down on your shower.

Speakman Low Flow Shower Head, $14.58; at Amazon

Bamboo safety razor

Zomchi

Instead of throwing away a disposable razor every time you shave, invest in an eco-friendly, reusable one. This unisex shaver isn't just sustainable, it's also sharp-looking, which means it would make a great gift for the holidays.

Zomchi Safety Razor, $16.99; at Amazon

The Planet
Instagram / Leonardo DiCaprio

This August, the world watched as the Amazon burned. There were 30,901 individual fires that lapped at the largest rainforest in the world. While fires can occur in the dry season due to natural factors, like lightning strikes, it is believed that the widespread fires were started by loggers and farmers to clear land. Brazil's president, Jair Bolsonaro, cites a different cause: the actor Leonardo DiCaprio.

DiCaprio wasn't accused of hanging out in the rainforest with a box of matches, however President Bolsonaro did accuse the actor of funding nonprofit organizations that allegedly set fires to raise donations.

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The Planet