By Naheed Rajwani
Daily Bruin, U. California-Los Angeles
(UWire)—Three diplomas and a lengthy resume in hand, Joseph Miskabi began job-hunting in August.
Despite political science and history degrees from UCLA in 2007 and a law degree from U. California Hastings College of Law, his dream of practicing as a private attorney turned out to be out of reach.
Students living at home demonstrated higher levels of relationship difficulty and stress compared with counterparts who lived on their own.
Unable to afford living on his own, Miskabi said he had no choice but to temporarily move in with his parents until he found a permanent job.
Miskabi is among millions of Americans who have moved in with relatives to deal with tough economic conditions and an uncertain job market, according to a study released by the Pew Research Center.
Students living at home demonstrated higher levels of relationship difficulty and stress compared with counterparts who lived on their own. "Moving in with my parents was a little difficult because I was used to my own way of life and now I am living under someone else's roof," Miskabi said.
The Pew survey also found the percentage of Americans living in multigenerational households grew more than five times the overall population percentage increase from 2007 to 2009, the years economists call the Great Recession.
Multigenerational households are those that include two or more adult generations.
Young adults ages 25 to 34 years saw the sharpest increase among age groups living in multigenerational households, according to the Pew survey.
Earlier studies have indicated college students living at home demonstrated higher levels of relationship difficulty and stress compared to their counterparts who lived on their own, said Andrew Fuligni, director of the Adolescence, Ethnicity and Immigration Research Program at UCLA.
In the past, students had other reasons for living with family besides the economy, so it is yet to be seen how moving in with parents for economic reasons will affect the developmental psychology of young adults, Fuligni said.
The Pew study revealed that the poverty rate for multigenerational households was considerably lower than that of other types of households.
Fifth-year English student Satinderpal Kaur Kehal lived in an apartment for two years but had to move back home with her parents to accommodate the rising cost of education.
Kehal weighed the added costs of staying at UCLA for an extra year and decided to commute to save money.
"Living at home is more cost-effective than living independently, especially in this rough economy, because you are sharing living space and household supplies," Kehal said.
All young adults prefer independence, but now they need sustainable jobs to be able to move out.
There are three ways students can combat the economic circumstances that require them to move back home, said assistant professor of economics Leah Platt Boustan.
They can either go back to school, live with roommates to reduce the costs of living alone, or return home to live with their parents.
With more people returning home after college, Boustan said she has noticed a generational divide between herself and her students.
"Living at home is no longer a social stigma for young adults today because they are more connected with their parents through more efficient forms of communication," she said. "But for someone in my own generation, there would have to be a large enough reduction in costs to even consider living at home."
Economics professor Gary Hansen said, however, he didn't think social norms had changed from previous generations.
All young adults prefer independence, but now they need sustainable jobs to be able to move out and live on their own, he said.
And for both Kehal and Miskabi, living with parents until marriage is considered the norm in their respective cultures, which also factored in their decisions to live at home.
Miskabi was recently offered a job as an associate at Rudoy Fleck, a law firm in Sherman Oaks. He said he hopes to move out of his parents' home and into an apartment with his friends when the job becomes more permanent.
Kehal, meanwhile, said she plans to volunteer for a nongovernmental organization in India—and later return to the United States to pursue a master of public health or health administration after she graduates in June.