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The Accordion Family: Boomerang Kids, Anxious Parents, and the Private Toll of Global Competition Hardcover – January 17, 2012
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“Klinenberg and Newman flesh out their subjects with expertise and devotion, but neither forgets that ‘accordion family’ and ‘going solo’ are always less definitive terms than rich and poor.”—New York Times Book Review
“Brilliant and important.” —Robert B. Reich, author of Aftershock: The Next Economy and America’s Future
“Newman reveals that while the causes of children moving back home are somewhat universal … different cultures have very disparate ways of redressing the issue.”—starred notice in Library Journal feature
"Combining personal interviews with careful analysis of economic trends, and paying close attention to differences in cultural values and political structures, Newman sheds new light on the complex trade-offs that recent changes in intergenerational relationships and residence patterns involve for young adults, their parents, and society as a whole."—Stephanie Coontz, author of The Way We Never Were: American Families and the Nostalgia Trap
"In this wide-ranging book, Katherine Newman shows that the ages at which young adults leave their parents' homes are rising in developed countries around the world. She brilliantly demonstrates that the global forces behind this change are everywhere the same but that each nation interprets it in its own cultural way. Newman's insightful presentation of the stories of accordion families challenges us to re-think what it means to be an adult today."—Andrew Cherlin, author of The Marriage-Go-Round: The State of Marriage and the Family in America Today
About the Author
Top Customer Reviews
In a readable and well-organized book, author Katherine Newman, a sociologist at Johns Hopkins University, presents interviews with families from the U.S., Italy, Spain, Japan, Denmark and other first world democracies, trying to determine why thousands of young adults are unable to find homes and start families of their own.
The causes aren't difficult to find -- Newman offers easy to understand tables and graphs in addition to the interviews, showing that economic globalization -- the export of jobs from first world countries to developing countries -- has left many economies bereft of starter jobs for people between the ages of 16 to 35 trying to enter the job market.
Faced with a shortage of jobs at all levels, high educational expenses, skyrocketing rents and home prices, and increasingly competitive workplaces where master's degrees and Ph.D. degrees are required instead of bachelor's degrees and high school graduation diplomas, younger workers are often forced to live at home, subsisting on part-time or contract jobs or struggling through yet another college program.
Newman looks at how each culture deals with this phenomenon -- Scandinavian countries have worked against it, by providing young adults with housing, college loans and other assistance in leaving their parents' residences. But both the young adults and parents she interviewed complain of a lack of family closeness.Read more ›
Ms. Newman discusses how policy matters a lot. In the Nordic countries, subsidized housing and education enables young people to leave the family home and establish their own households. In the Mediterranean countries, the young are often priced out of the housing market and can rarely find permanent employment, leaving them stuck in the family home well into adulthood. In the U.S., the situation is somewhere in between these two extremes, with middle class families generally allowing their children time to study and establish their careers while the working poor have no choice but to pool their earnings to survive. In Japan however, Ms. Newman finds an extreme case where a wrenching economic and demographic transformation has left little opportunity for the young, some of whom are staying in the family home into their forties.
Ms. Newman does an outstanding job understanding how people feel about all this. She finds that Danes and Swedes value their privacy and independence but recognize how it has cost them a measure of closeness among the generations.Read more ›
Most Recent Customer Reviews
The author profiles many families in Italy, Japan, Denmark, the U.S. and a couple of other countries who have extended families due to the children returning to or remaining in the... Read morePublished on March 11, 2013 by Kathy Edens
An interesting study for families with kids who can't seem to leave the nest and get started in life so quickly as their parents did. Reassuring.Published on February 27, 2013 by Anahita
This book really drills down and examines the issues we are having in the Western World where our children do not grow up, get a career, house, and start their own family. Read morePublished on April 29, 2012 by Steve Burns
I feel like I learned a lot about why European and Asian countries are keeping their kids at home longer, which did surprise me but I didn't learn much about why it seems to be... Read morePublished on February 17, 2012 by KristenB
I read this and was quite interested...for a while. I do not have children out of high school yet, so it wasn't as relevant to me as it would be to some. Read morePublished on January 25, 2012 by G. Kellner
Why do so many adult children continue to live with their parents? Are the parents to blame for failing to prepare their kids to become adults? Read morePublished on January 8, 2012 by takingadayoff
Katherine Newman's sociological book on the modern, contemporary family is going to be the subject of many discussions. Read morePublished on December 30, 2011 by Sylviastel