Statistics Canada released some interesting research today related to the 2011 Census and it's provides a level of insight into today's boomerang generation. The Portrait of Families and Living Arrangements in Canada (full report here) paints a picture of the changing nature of families and social relations in Canada. Of interest to me are the parts of the research that examines what's happening to young Canadians; this is documented in a separate brief entitled Living Arrangements of Young Adults Aged 20 to 29 (full report here).
The finding are fascinating. Twenty-somethings are living at home in much greater (and increasing) numbers than in past decades, which the study attributes to a higher cost of housing, the necessity of pursuing advanced degrees, and weakness in the youth labour market. The research also found that there was a gendered dimension to this trend with young men being more likely to live at home than young women; furthermore, Southern Ontario (particularly the 905) was also singled out as having a high percentage of 20 to 29 years living at home, which I'll attribute to the depressed labour market in Ontario and the housing bubble which has simply priced many young people out of owning their own home.
The proportion of young people living as a couple is also on the decline. This is part of a long term slide in young Canadian forming relationships. In 1981 51.8% of twenty-somethings were in relationships, but the figure today is just 30.8% which is a 2% drop from the 2006 census figure of 32.8%. The study attributes this decline in young people focusing on their education or careers rather than forming relationships. I'll throw in my two cents: it's hard to form stable relationships amid a labour market that exploits young people and when one graduates with tens of thousands of dollars in debt. Finally, it should be pointed out, as unsurprising as it may be, that more young people are living with non-family members (i.e. roommates and other situations) than in past censuses.
For some additional reading on the boomerang generation phenomena take a look at these links: the Pew Research Center has some interesting insights into the overall social trend; the CBC produced a great documentary called Generation Boomerang; and, this article from The Guardian about ever present threat of the quarter-life crisis. Finally, take a look about this video about the what's happening with today's young Canadians, see: