Majority of Under-30 Adults Live with Parents

Already-high rates have been exacerbated by the pandemic.

Pew (“A majority of young adults in the U.S. live with their parents for the first time since the Great Depression“)

The coronavirus outbreak has pushed millions of Americans, especially young adults, to move in with family members. The share of 18- to 29-year-olds living with their parents has become a majority since U.S. coronavirus cases began spreading early this year, surpassing the previous peak during the Great Depression era.

My now-21-year-old stepdaughter moved in with us back in March, near the end of her junior year in college, because said college went online-only and it made sense to have her locked down with family support rather than alone three hours away in Philadelphia. But, while she’s typical of the spike, the real story is much bigger.

In July, 52% of young adults resided with one or both of their parents, up from 47% in February, according to a new Pew Research Center analysis of monthly Census Bureau data. The number living with parents grew to 26.6 million, an increase of 2.6 million from February. The number and share of young adults living with their parents grew across the board for all major racial and ethnic groups, men and women, and metropolitan and rural residents, as well as in all four main census regions. Growth was sharpest for the youngest adults (ages 18 to 24) and for White young adults.

So, a change of five percentage points in five months is a lot. But the fact that 47% were living with their parents before the pandemic seems way more interesting than the fact that the pandemic pushed it up to 52%.

The share of young adults living with their parents is higher than in any previous measurement (based on current surveys and decennial censuses). Before 2020, the highest measured value was in the 1940 census at the end of the Great Depression, when 48% of young adults lived with their parents. The peak may have been higher during the worst of the Great Depression in the 1930s, but there is no data for that period.

Which is to say, the only data we had for the early period was the decennial Census. But it makes intuitive sense that the Great Depression forced a lot of young adults to move in with their parents.

Multi-generational living was, in living memory, the customary arrangement. The so-called nuclear family (two parents and their children) is an outcome of the economic boom created by World War II (including the GI Bill, which allowed millions of veterans to go to college and/or get cheap home loans). We seem to have mostly reversed that trend in recent years.

Given that the cohort in question are those aged 18 to 29, I’m going to go out on a limb and suggest that very little of the movement is a function of aged parents moving in with their grown children. Rather, this is almost entirely young adults either delaying moving out (perhaps attending college while living at home) or being forced to move back in after losing a job, getting a divorce, or some other setback.

Young adults have been particularly hard hit by this year’s pandemic and economic downturn, and have been more likely to move than other age groups, according to a Pew Research Center survey. About one-in-ten young adults (9%) say they relocated temporarily or permanently due to the coronavirus outbreak, and about the same share (10%) had somebody move into their household. Among all adults who moved due to the pandemic, 23% said the most important reason was because their college campus had closed, and 18% said it was due to job loss or other financial reasons.

Again, aside from whatever convenience factor may be involved, college-age kids moving home when campus gets closed isn’t of particular concern to me. While the presumed trajectory is that they are out of the house for good, they are, for the most part, still financially dependent on their parents. Indeed, unless they’re married, the Census counts them as living with parents even while away at school.

Working adults being forced to move back home because they can’t support themselves financially, however, is much different. It’s much more psychologically devastating, for one. And, of course, it’s a generational phenomenon that has now hit twice in the last fourteen years.

These new living arrangements may have an impact not just on young adults and their families, but on the U.S. economy overall, reflecting the importance of the housing market to overall economic growth. Even before the outbreak, the growth in new households trailed population growth, in part because people were moving in with others. Slower household growth could mean less demand for housing and household goods. There also may be a decline in the number of renters and homeowners, and in overall housing activity. Between February and July 2020, the number of households headed by an 18- to 29-year-old declined by 1.9 million, or 12%. The total went from 15.8 million to 13.9 million.

The vast majority of young adults who live with their parents – 88% – live in their parents’ home, and this group accounts for the growth in the population of adult children living with their parents. Nearly all of the remainder live in their own homes along with their parents, or in homes headed by other family members. These shares have been relatively stable for the past decade.

[…]

It is worth noting that in these Current Population Survey numbers, unmarried students who reside in on-campus college dorms are counted as living in their family home, so any increase in young adults living with parents this year would not be due to the pandemic-related closure of college dorms in the spring. [emphasis mine—while I knew this for reasons already stated, it’s weirdly late in the story to point this out]

That said, there generally is a seasonal pattern to young adults living with their parents: The share tends to rise slightly in the summer, after college final exams. In 2019, for example, the share living with their parents rose by less than 2 percentage points in July compared with February. But this year, the increase was much sharper – more than 5 points.

The demographic and regional breakdowns here are interesting.

In past decades, White young adults have been less likely than their Asian, Black and Hispanic counterparts to live with their parents. That gap has narrowed since February as the number of White young adults living with their mothers and/or fathers grew more than for other racial and ethnic groups.

In fact, Whites accounted for about two-thirds (68%) of the increase in young adults living with their parents. As of July, more than half of Hispanic (58%) and Black (55%) young adults now live with their parents, compared with about half of White (49%) and Asian (51%) young adults.

Young men are more likely than young women to live with their parents, and both groups experienced increases in the number and share residing with mom, dad or both parents since the beginning of the coronavirus outbreak. Similarly, a higher share of young adults in metropolitan areas compared with rural ones live with their parents now, but the number in both areas grew from February to July.

By region, the number and share of young adults living with parents grew throughout the country. Growth was sharpest in the South, where the total rose by more than a million and the share increased by 6 percentage points, from 46% to 52%. But the Northeast retained its status as the region where the highest share of young adults live with parents (57%).

Basically, we’re seeing regression to the mean: the groups more likely to be living with their parents naturally grew at a slower rate.

It’s worth noting that those most impacted by this trend—whites, males, and Southerners—are those most likely to vote for Trump. No, I’m not suggesting causation. Rather, I’m wondering if this will have any impact on the election. The groups most supportive of the incumbent President seem to be the most hurt by his utter mismanagement of the pandemic.

FILED UNDER: COVID-19, Economics and Business, Parenting
James Joyner
About James Joyner
James Joyner is Professor and Department Head of Security Studies at Marine Corps University's Command and Staff College and a nonresident senior fellow at the Scowcroft Center for Strategy and Security at the Atlantic Council. He's a former Army officer and Desert Storm vet. Views expressed here are his own. Follow James on Twitter @DrJJoyner.

Comments

  1. OzarkHillbilly says:

    Given that the cohort in question are those aged 18 to 29, I’m going to go out on a limb and suggest that very little of the movement is a function of aged parents moving in with their grown children.

    My NOLA son’s MiL had to move in with them when she lost her job as a hotel floor manager at the beginning of the pandemic.

    So, a change of five percentage points in five months is a lot. But the fact that 47% were living with their parents before the pandemic seems way more interesting than the fact that the pandemic pushed it up to 52%.
    …………………………
    Rather, this is almost entirely young adults either delaying moving out (perhaps attending college while living at home) or being forced to move back in after losing a job, getting a divorce, or some other setback

    Yeah, that 47% number is the real story. I would also throw in the burden of student loans as a cause but I think the largest chunk is due to stagnant wages, which hit young people just entering the job market especially hard.

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  2. grumpy realist says:

    @OzarkHillbilly: It’s also probably due to the ridiculously high cost of living in certain of our “large cities”. Match that with student loans and the crappy salaries and it’s not surprising that young-uns are living back with Ma and Pa. At least that way shelter and food is covered.

    (There was an article I read some time back which pointed out that TV shows like “Friends” were quite unrealistic in the mis-match between the lifestyles portrayed and the salaries of their supposed employments, and that it was unfortunately getting a lot of young adults into financial difficulties because they DID think that they were going to be able to afford one on the salary of the other.)

    (The NEETs over at Reddit are peeing themselves with glee over the Pew article, by the way. They seem to think they’re now being justified in their “lifestyles”. “Living with your parents” doesn’t mean “being a basement dweller addicted to video games who never goes out and doesn’t contribute anything to the family”, silly people.)

  3. Sleeping Dog says:

    The groups most supportive of the incumbent President seem to be the most hurt by his utter mismanagement of the pandemic.

    Depending on your POV, proof of cult-like behavior or tribalism.

    What frustrates me about articles like these is that too often they lack context. They give a current snapshot of the data and recent trends, but seldom perspective what the situation was 10, 20, 30 years ago. Also the trend line is often so recent as to be meaningless. Is the 47% figure significant? Who knows since there is nothing to compare it to except the current exceptional situation.

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  4. This aside struck me:

    including the GI Bill, which allowed millions of veterans to go to college and/or get cheap home loans

    Consider subsidized loans (both for a mortgage or to start a business), a guaranteed minimum salary for the unemployed, money for school (to include living expenses), all untaxed.

    A snarky reaction is (and not to James, but just in general): sounds like socialism to me.

    A less snarky reaction: this was acceptable because veterans were seen to have earned the benefit, which surely they did, but on the other hand it is still not letting the market fix a problem and demonstrates how subsidies can help millions of people.

    Consider how much better off we would be if there was more money to pay for higher education, for example.

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  5. mattbernius says:

    James:

    including the GI Bill, which allowed millions of veterans to go to college and/or get cheap home loans

    @Steven L. Taylor:

    A less snarky reaction: this was acceptable because veterans were seen to have earned the benefit, which surely they did, but on the other hand it is still not letting the market fix a problem and demonstrates how subsidies can help millions of people.

    And this is a great point to remind folks that the GI Bill primarily benefited *White* veterans. So again, this is an example of how historical, structural racism has helped prevent the development of intergenerational wealth within the Black community (not to mention a stable middle class).

    https://www.militarytimes.com/military-honor/salute-veterans/2019/11/10/the-gi-bill-shouldve-been-race-neutral-politicos-made-sure-it-wasnt/

    https://www.history.com/news/gi-bill-black-wwii-veterans-benefits

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  6. mattbernius says:

    A number of my colleagues in San Francisco and other cities have moved back in with parents during COVID-19. In addition to saving money (and not being able to access the best aspects of city life), there’s another reason they’ve opted to do this — roomates and work from home. Most of the folks I know who are earlier in their career are living with multiple roomates to make things work. Being around them constantly while everyone is trying to work remotely has been really difficult for many. So that, in conjunction with some of the other factors, has been leading to the moves.

    Those who were on their own, or just living with a partner, have been the most likely to continue to stay put.

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  7. Northerner says:

    @Steven L. Taylor:

    Consider how much better off we would be if there was more money to pay for higher education, for example.

    Especially if trades (including apprenticeships) were included in higher education (I suspect you do so, but many people don’t). Even forgiving student loans would probably gain more support if it forgave analogous training and start-up costs for young people getting into trades (often the cost of start-up tools/workshops — a smaller amount than what would be forgiven for many student loans — is what keeps new trades people from being able to start their own careers, as they have to hope an established trades person will take them on).

    Basically, invest in young people’s careers, whatever that might be. It’ll pay off in the long run.

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  8. James Joyner says:

    @Sleeping Dog:

    What frustrates me about articles like these is that too often they lack context. They give a current snapshot of the data and recent trends, but seldom perspective what the situation was 10, 20, 30 years ago. Also the trend line is often so recent as to be meaningless. Is the 47% figure significant? Who knows since there is nothing to compare it to except the current exceptional situation.

    There’s not much in the way of analysis but they provide literally all the datapoints available going back more than a century!

  9. James Joyner says:

    @Steven L. Taylor:

    A less snarky reaction: this was acceptable because veterans were seen to have earned the benefit

    and @mattbernius:

    And this is a great point to remind folks that the GI Bill primarily benefited *White* veterans. So again, this is an example of how historical, structural racism has helped prevent the development of intergenerational wealth within the Black community (not to mention a stable middle class).

    are almost surely related.

    Yes, we support benefits for veterans as having “earned” them, rather than being a “handout.” But a lot of the opposition to “socialism” is that it’s perceived as going to “those people.”

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  10. An Interested Party says:

    The groups most supportive of the incumbent President seem to be the most hurt by his utter mismanagement of the pandemic.

    He has hurt them far more than with just his mismanagement of the pandemic…it is quite sad that these people, for whatever reason (ideology, racism, tribalism, etc.) continue to support a president and a political party that hurts them over and over and over again…

    But a lot of the opposition to “socialism” is that it’s perceived as going to “those people.”

    A primary reason why it works so much better in largely homogeneous Nordic countries than it does here…

  11. Bill says:

    I was in the Navy from 79 to 89** and all but ready to re-enlist. 1989 was also the year I got married.

    My father didn’t come to my wedding. He deemed it too long a trip for him to make. Dad was in good health but my mother died in 1985 of lung cancer. She was only 53. If Mom had been alive and in good health in 1989, I am sure she would have insisted on them coming to the Philippines for my wedding.

    About the time I got married, Dad began writing me a whole series of letters asking that I come home. He made it plain I could live at home and that Dear wife was welcome. They even had the same birthdays.*

    I put off the decision about whether to re-enlist or not as long as I could but decided in the end to go home. Dear Wife was still going through the immigration process when I separated from the Navy in early October 1989.

    When I got home, I got a job almost at once at a hospital just over two miles from home. Dad and I had always gotten along good. I think he was just lonely. He briefly got in a relationship with a woman named Millie. They got married (I think. The whole thing was kind of weird) in 1990 but I wasn’t even invited. Millie didn’t like me and to be honest I didn’t care for her either. Dad had a few lady friends, but she was the only one disliked. Dad and her weren’t together for long. Supposedly Millie wanted to kick me and the wife out but Dad wouldn’t and his relationship with Millie ended within a year. To make a long story short my last 7.5 years with Dad were good even if the last year or two was sometimes rough as his health declined.

    Not re-enlisting likely saved my life. Two navy dermatologists examined me and said the moles on me were of no concern and didn’t need follow up. In 1993 I had my first melanoma discovered and in less than a year three more were biopsied. My dermatology care while enlisted left something to be desired.

    *- DW and Dad got along fabulously from the time she got to the United States on Dec 17, 1989 to March 14, 1997 when my father passed away at age 73.

    **- For a little over two years between 1980 and 1982, I was stationed at Navy Recruit Training Command in Orlando as a Navy Hospital Corpsman. At least one time a month, I’d drive to my parents Boca Raton home. Mom’s health slowly started sliding downhill in 1980.

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  12. Michael Reynolds says:

    Self-supporting from age 16, living on my own from 17 on.

    My two kids, 20 and 23 are respectively a) working at a grocery store and b) um, not working. Both live on their own and we heavily subsidize both.

    I could try out a generational snark but the fact is it was a hell of a lot easier to pay rent in ‘my day.’ On my annual $6000 salary at a DC law firm in 1973 I had an efficiency apartment in NW Washington. $6000 in 1973 is ~$35,000 in 2020. A similar Dupont Circle area apartment now starts at around $2,000 a month, $24,000 a year, which would be impossible for someone making 35K.

    4
  13. ImProPer says:

    “Multi-generational living was, in living memory, the customary arrangement. The so-called nuclear family (two parents and their children) is an outcome of the economic boom created by World War II (including the GI Bill, which allowed millions of veterans to go to college and/or get cheap home loans). We seem to have mostly reversed that trend in recent years”

    Adding to this, the new workforce of women, created by the war effort gave rise to the two income family. This for an extended period of time, lead to a rapid   increase  in disposable income, that took a few decades for the free-market to all but nullify.
       The forces that created the formentioned  boom, is now simply history.
    For the following generations, working  a job that a large segment of the population can and will do, pretty much predisposes them to a two income household, as this  is the largest factor determining the  current state of pricing. Couple this with the modern trend of many young adults opting to get a high school 2.0 degree in college, endenturing themselves to unscrupulous lenders, to finance the ever-increasing costs that have been steadily outpacing inflation.
       It is unsurprising, however unfair, that Covid would exasperate this. Kudos to you James for demonstrating the value of family. I hope she and all the others  of her generation, are able to make lemonade. A distraction free learning environment, coupled with all the painful lessons  our current system is teaching us, could  be the catalyst to creating the new “greatest generation”.

    1
  14. OzarkHillbilly says:

    @Bill: Every time I talk to my NOLA son I tell him. “You can always come home.” I wish it had a chance of working.

  15. Nightcrawler says:

    The thing that irks me about this stat is that the cutoff is age 29. I think it should be 24. I strongly suspect that, at least pre-apocalypse, most of the “under 30s” living with parents were likely “under 25s”; in other words, college age.

    Post-apocalypse, anything goes. Americans had better get used to multigenerational households, because they’re about to become the norm as families are forced to pool resources.

    My husband and I have no children, nor do we have siblings. His parents are dead. I’m estranged from my birthfather, and my birthmother is in assisted living. We have no other living relatives, other than my husband’s in-laws, who we rarely even hear from. We’re not going to have anyone knocking on our door, or go knocking on anyone else’s.

    Sometimes, I wish we did have family around. For example, after I had my hysterectomy, my husband could have used the help while I was laid up for 6 weeks. I don’t begrudge families for helping each other right now.

    1
  16. Mister Bluster says:

    @Michael Reynolds:..I could try out a generational snark but the fact is it was a hell of a lot easier to pay rent in ‘my day.’

    Same goes for college tuition. When I transferred to a 4 year college in 1968 after 2 years of Jr. College the tuition and fees were $90.15/semester ($670.83 today) This included book rental. I lived in an off campus rooming house for $50/month ($372.27) that included electric, water and trash utilities. There was a phone booth a block away.
    Even when I did own a truck I parked it most of the time as the bars, grocery stores and campus were all within walking distance.
    I still had a part time job since I had not saved enough before I made the move.
    I never did it but I knew more than a few students who would go to Chicago and get summer jobs in the steel mills. Live with their parents for three months and save enough money to pay for their tuition and rent for the remaining nine months of the year. Some would have part time student jobs to pay for reefer* and beer.
    Now that enrollment has dropped from a high of 20,000 in the late ’90s to a low of under 10,000 just two years ago there are many empty apartments that are renting for $400/month including utilities. Plus free internet that did not exist 52 years ago. Also in 1968 Cable TV was a few years away here.

    *The first weed I bought in 1968 went for $20 a lid (1oz.) $148.91 today. Of course you had to roll a big fat joint and smoke the whole thing to get a good buzz. All you need of today’s leaf is a good pinch or two. But why stop there.

    3
  17. Roger says:

    @ImProPer:

    It is unsurprising, however unfair, that Covid would exasperate this.

    I love it when autocorrect makes an additional point beyond the one that was intended. Our 30-year-old son and daughter-in-law moved in with us for a couple of months while they worked out some housing issues. We were happy to have them, but at times our living situation was both exacerbated and exasperating.

    3
  18. ImProPer says:

    @mattbernius:
    “So again, this is an example of how historical, structural racism has helped prevent the development of intergenerational wealth within the Black community (not to mention a stable middle class).”

    Thanks for sharing the link. It is also notable that the post WW2 boom, was almost 20 years prior to the Civil Rights act.

    1
  19. Bill says:

    @OzarkHillbilly:

    Every time I talk to my NOLA son I tell him. “You can always come home.” I wish it had a chance of working.

    In February 1980 as I was nearing completion of my Corpsman training at Great Lakes in Illinois, my mother suffered a ruptured colon. The surgeon gave my Mom about a 25% chance of living.

    Dad was struggling but said I didn’t have to come home. On completion of our training, me and my 37 or 38 other classmates had our choice of assignments (Except for those who went on to Fleet Marine Corpsman training. I think all HC go through that training now but not so then) in order of where we finished class wise. I finished 13th and the pickings were pretty good but I chose Orlando* due to Mom. Just in case I was needed. While Mom was hospitalized, I’d come home once a week for just a day. Usually making the almost 6 hour roundtrip drive all in one day.

    Mom spent 5 weeks in the hospital but made it home. Two and a half years later, she was diagnosed with lung cancer and had part of a lung removed. After being discharged, Mom continued to smoke. I heard her explain her actions. ‘If I don’t smoke, I’ll get fat and then my heart will go bad’. Between 1980 and 85 Mom was hospitalized a few other times but I forget for when. Her cancer metastasized and she died in April 1985.

    I have never once taken a puff on a cigarette.

    *- Orlando wasn’t a great assignment because of the bloody heat, humidity, and no breeze for at least six months every year. As such, Orlando and Crete were probably the last choice of my classmates.

    2
  20. ImProPer says:

    @Roger:

    “I love it when autocorrect makes an additional point beyond the one that was intended.”

    Thanks for the correction. I further love the newfound ability age has given me to admit a grammatical error, rather than blame autocorrect. (Even though it does get me a from time to time as well) ;•)

  21. OzarkHillbilly says:

    @Bill: I have never once taken a puff on a cigarette.

    I wish I could say the same. I quit smoking 10 years ago and I still want one every day. If I ever come down with stage 4 cancer, I’m lighting up.

    1
  22. Sleeping Dog says:

    @James Joyner:

    I was commenting generally and didn’t make that at all clear.

    edit: Besides, I needed to rant this AM.

  23. Mister Bluster says:

    @Mister Bluster:..I still had a part time job since I had not saved enough before I made the move.

    This link shows 1968 federal minimun wage was $1.60/hour. I don’t remember it being that much.
    My job at the time was at a locally owned independent franchise of Spudnuts. The donuts that used potato flour in the dough. (Spud nuts…get it?). I know that they had franchise shops in other states but I don’t know how “locally owned” played into the requirement to follow federal minimum wage laws in 1968. I can’t find anything on Illinois minimum wage laws that far back.

  24. Just nutha ignint cracker says:

    @OzarkHillbilly:

    I think the largest chunk is due to stagnant wages, which hit young people just entering the job market especially hard.

    That can’t be it. It seems like only a few months ago some people were telling us that what we really needed was a sub-minimum “training” wage to juice employment opportunities and prevent the owners of capital from foregoing investment because their profit margins on new ventures weren’t high enough. Surely you remember this. I think it was right before Jeff Bezos became the first trillionaire in history.

  25. Just nutha ignint cracker says:

    @Northerner: Small sample, admittedly, but the objections that I see against student loan forgiveness/subsidized or free college tuition and such revolve around the complaint that the current generation shouldn’t have an advantage the previous generation didn’t get. “Why should we do this for them? Nobody did it for me.”

    1
  26. Just nutha ignint cracker says:

    @Michael Reynolds: Yeah, tell me about it. The $575/mo. that I pay for a~400 sq. ft. studio apartment now paid the mortgage and HOA on a 1500 sq. ft. 3 bedroom townhouse in 1979. Fortunately, I’m okay in that the combination of social security and my smallish Teamster pension provide more income than I earned annually after I left the produce business in 1985–including the time I worked in Korea, to which I had decamped on the promise (generally fulfilled) of a 1oo% increase in pay over what I had made teaching in the US (cobbling together adjunct faculty work with K-12 substitute teaching on my off days).

    And no, I wouldn’t be able to employ myself as I did back in the day anymore. It’s simply too expensive to live in places where per section faculty work is available–at least in my perception.

    ETA: And yes, I DO know that all that I have proven is that Social Security benefits are too generous. Thank you for noticing.

    1
  27. CSK says:

    @OzarkHillbilly:
    Have you ever tried e–cigs? They work for a lot of people.

  28. Mister Bluster says:

    @Just nutha ignint cracker:..Social Security benefits are too generous.

    You are the Joker!

  29. An Interested Party says:

    …but the objections that I see against student loan forgiveness/subsidized or free college tuition and such revolve around the complaint that the current generation shouldn’t have an advantage the previous generation didn’t get. “Why should we do this for them? Nobody did it for me.”

    That’s especially funny considering that this will be the first generation in American history to do worse than their parents financially…who owes whom…

    4
  30. OzarkHillbilly says:

    @CSK: Nah. I’m OK, it’s just at least once a day, I. Want. A. Cig. It really is psychological with me. Sometimes I think nicotine is the most insidious drug yet imbibed in by man.

    My last year of smoking I was smoking 4 cigs a day. 4 cigs: 1/2 on my hour or more commute to whatever jobsite I was working on, 1/2 upon my arrival with my before work coffee. 1/2 at morning break, 1/2 at lunch. 1/2 on the drive home. 1/2 with my evening scotch on the front porch. One more half after dinner, and if I hadn’t already cheated at some point in the day, that last half before bed.

    I still jones for that early AM cig on the road and for that one w/ coffee before my day begins. And that one with my front porch scotch? Jeebus, I miss the scotch too.

    Thank dawg for Chantrix. I’d be dead by now without it. If the day ever comes, where I know I’m gonna go? I’m going with a cig in my mouth and a smile on my face.

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  31. DrDaveT says:

    @OzarkHillbilly:

    Every time I talk to my NOLA son I tell him. “You can always come home.” I wish it had a chance of working.

    ObRobertFrost:

    “Home,” he mocked gently.

    “Yes, what else but home?
    It all depends on what you mean by home.
    Of course he’s nothing to us, any more
    Than was the hound that came a stranger to us
    Out of the woods, worn out upon the trail.”

    “Home is the place where, when you have to go there,
    They have to take you in.”

    “I should have called it
    Something you somehow haven’t to deserve.”

    from “The Death of the Hired Man”, c. 1905

    3
  32. Jax says:

    @OzarkHillbilly: I hear ya on the smoking. If there’s one activity that’s prepared me for “dealing with people”, before I have to be around people, it’s having a smoke and collecting myself.

    1
  33. de stijl says:

    @Jax: @OzarkHillbilly:

    I am mostly quit. Mostly.

    I cheat every now and again just to shut up that foul ache and urge. JUST SHUT UP!

    I am in a cheaty phase now. It never works – actually it does work for about an hour. That part of my brain always wants more. It is insidious and apparently life-long.

    Since I am in the cheaty phase I think I’ll have a cig.

  34. Northerner says:

    @Just nutha ignint cracker:

    Small sample, admittedly, but the objections that I see against student loan forgiveness/subsidized or free college tuition and such revolve around the complaint that the current generation shouldn’t have an advantage the previous generation didn’t get. “Why should we do this for them? Nobody did it for me.”

    I’ve heard that a lot too (same for paying for trade start-up fees). Usually said by someone who didn’t have to fight in the trenches (as per WW1) or rush beaches (as per WW2), or do the various kinds of physical work previous generations had to do, or grow up without modern medicine and mechanical conveniences (things developed by the work and effort of previous generations). And of course, my apologies to anyone who grew up on a desert island and developed all the tools and learning they now possess on their own.

    I guess some of that is just human nature. The things I got for free that previous generations had to struggle through are my birth right. But giving things for free that I had to struggle through is unfair and leads to bad character development.

    Making things better for the next generation is such an outdated concept. My grandparents and parents took it for granted as one of the goals of civilization. Now that I’m their age I hear it much less frequently.

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  35. Just nutha ignint cracker says:

    @Northerner: I don’t think it’s as much an objection to making things better for the next generation as it is making thing better for “those people.” If they’d just stay in their place…

  36. Northerner says:

    @Just nutha ignint cracker:

    I don’t think it’s as much an objection to making things better for the next generation as it is making thing better for “those people.” If they’d just stay in their place…

    Quite possibly true in America, though the resistance to forgiving student loans (which would mainly benefit middle class whites) makes me think its broader than that. In Canada it seems to be a general attitude — you hear it from older people of all backgrounds applied to younger people of all backgrounds (ie against millennials as a group rather than against any particular subset of them). Its much like Monty Python’s “Four Yorkshiremen” skit, though not as funny in real life.

  37. de stijl says:

    @DrDaveT:

    Frost gets too little love because what he did seems simple. Frost is not simple.

  38. DrDaveT says:

    @de stijl:

    Frost gets too little love because what he did seems simple. Frost is not simple.

    Amen.

    My most frustrating moment of undergraduate education came in a Creative Writing class when the teacher (TA) had us read “After Apple Picking”, and then discuss. I sat on my hands fidgeting through about 5 fumble-minded classmates talking about rural life, or changes of season, or nature, or the pleasure of accomplished work… At which point the TA turned to me. “You have a different interpretation, David?”

    “It’s about death!” I practically shouted. “The whole thing is about death, with apple-picking as a metaphor for the activities of life, and the ladder reaching toward heaven, and…”

    Stunned silence. At which point, my classmate who would go on to become head of the Young Republicans said:

    “I thought it was about apples.”

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