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You Can Go Home Again, Especially if You Are Out of a Job and Broke

If you find yourself without a job and running low on cash, one alternative is to move back to your hometown, get some help from your parents, (even though you are a fully grown adult), and hope that local ties will lead to a new career. That’s becoming the new plan for increasing numbers of adult children, The Wall Street Journal reports today.

The Journal cites an AARP analysis of U.S. Census Bureau data, which shows about 6.2 million adult children living with their parents as of March 2008, the latest figures available, up from 6.1 million the year before. And that latest total doesn’t even include massive layoffs from the last three months — so it could be much higher now.

Families around the country are weathering out the recession by hunkering down with relatives and friends. It’s not just a lower-income phenomena either. The homeward bound are former white-collar and blue-collar workers who believe they might have a better chance finding work in their hometown because they know more people, who, in turn, know still more people. But with jobs scarce, that doesn’t always work, and rumors of jobs are just that. At home, though, they can at least get help with food, shelter and clothing.

There’s a reason people are turning to relatives, The Journal says. There’s not much other help out there:

Kin is becoming the safety net of last resort in part because overwhelmed social-service agencies are reaching their giving limits. Across the country, waiting lists are mounting for people who need help paying for food, rent and utilities. Agencies are seeing more demand just as the traditional sources of revenues — individual, foundation and government support — are cutting back.

“Unlike previous recessions, every major revenue source that social-service providers turn to is in decline,” says Scott Allard, associate professor at the University of Chicago’s School of Social Service Administration. “Families, friends and social networks are becoming more important ways that people are coping.”

But moving in to live off relatives is awkward, if not demeaning, for many. In the Journal story, one woman said she couldn’t help but feel like a burden, especially when company came over to visit her relatives.

Just another glimpse into changes in our everyday lives caused by the increasingly grim economy.

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