Annie Kasinecz, 27, Downers Grove, Ill.
Degree: B.A., Advertising and public relations, Loyola University, Chicago
Student Loans: $75,000
Los Angeles-based photographer Damon Casarez‘s series titled “Boomerang Kids” portrays the bleak reality that 1 in 5 Americans in their 20s and early 30s live at home with their parents. According to the New York Times, “60 percent of all young adults receive financial support from them.” That’s staggering, isn’t? Of course there are a plethora reasons why Millennials are still at home with mom and dad, but the main reason is… crushing student debt loans.
In effect, children move out, go through the standard rite of passage of American life—getting a highly valued “higher education”—and then end up dependent on their parents again (if there was ever a break in the first place) a day or two after graduation because there are no decent paying jobs anymore.
Saddling themselves up to their eyeballs in student loan debts—whether they attended classes or attended to their hangovers—that they will then be paying off to Wall Street capitalists for much, perhaps most, of their productive lives seems like a raw deal. Who benefits from this equation? It’s becoming more and more obvious every day what a scam colleges are.
In the case of Damon Casarez, he was in the very same situation that his subjects are in—lots of debt and living at home—and “Boomerang Kids” was a way of connecting with young people in similar financial straights, an entire generation with a “failure to launch” crisis not of their own making.
Here’s a bit more from the New York Times:
The common explanation for the shift is that people born in the late 1980s and early 1990s came of age amid several unfortunate and overlapping economic trends. Those who graduated college as the housing market and financial system were imploding faced the highest debt burden of any graduating class in history. Nearly 45 percent of 25-year-olds, for instance, have outstanding loans, with an average debt above $20,000. And more than half of recent college graduates are unemployed or underemployed, meaning they make substandard wages in jobs that don’t require a college degree.
For most of American history, it was natural for each generation to become richer than the previous one. Now that’s no longer true. These changes created a new, far less predictable dynamic — some people would do much better than their parents could have ever dreamed; others would fall permanently behind. Given the volatility of the changes, the idea of an “average” worker was becoming obsolete. And while much of the discussion about economic inequality has centered on the top 1 percent, it’s the gap between the top 20 percent and the rest that’s more salient to young people. “That is a dividing point,” says Mark Rank, a professor at Washington University in St. Louis. People in the top 20 percent of income — roughly $100,000 in 2013 — have taken nearly all the economic gains of the past 40 years. (Of course, the top 1 percent and, even more so, the top 0.01 percent, has taken a far more disproportionate share.)
The series “Boomerang Kids” was shot in “8 states and over 14 cities, the work is a revealing and compassionate story of Millennials in the United States.”
Monica Navarro, 24, Escondido, Calif.
Degree: B.A., Literature and writing, University of California, San Diego.
Career Goal: Librarian
Current Job: Library volunteer, Home Depot Worker
Student Loans: $44,000
Gabriel Gonzalez, 22, Suffern, N.Y.
Degree: B.F.A., Graphic design, School of Visual Arts
Career goal: Graphic designer
Current job: Graphic designer and production assistant
Student Loans: $130,000
Alexandria Romo, 28, Austin, Tex.
Degree: B.A., Economics, Loyola University, Chicago
Career goal: Environmentalist
Current Job: Working at a corporate-security firm
Student Loans: $90,000
Adrianne Smith, 28, Seminole, Fla.
Degree: B.A., Psychology, University of Central Florida; M.S., Counseling, Nova Southeastern University
Career goal: Expanding her business
Current job: Entrepreneur and therapist (whose clients include autistic children)
Student Loans: $40,000 (for graduate school)
Ari Hoque, 22, Brooklyn
Degree: B.A., Economics, Hunter College
Career goal: Banker
Current job: Rental-car-company worker
Student Loans: $12,000
Jessica Meyer, 23, Pacifica, Calif.
Degree: B.A., Art history, Sonoma State University
Career goal: Veterinarian
Current job: Veterinary assistant
Student Loans: $27,000
Sarah Van Eck, 24, Hendricks, Minn.
Degree: B.A., Biology, Northwestern College
Career goal: Social Worker
Current job: Dietary worker at a hospital
Student Loans: $50,000
via Feature Shoot