Boomerang Kids: Poignant Portraits of College Grads Living Back Home with Their Parents


As someone who accumulated $25,000 in student debt in just the one semester I chose to attend medical school, the fate of photographer Damon Casarez‘s subjects in the series Boomerang Kids is one I’ve tried my damnedest to avoid. I’ve been fortunate, many of my friends have not.

A slumping job market and rising average student debt from undergrad, grad school and beyond means that more and more college graduates are moving back in with mom and dad, and it’s their stories Casarez told in this poignant series of portraits commissioned by NYT Magazine.

Appropriately, the series springs from Casarez’s own experience. Speaking to Co.Design, he reveals hat the project “started out of my own struggle to find work and support myself after graduating college with over $100,000 in student loans.”


When work became scarce and bills began piling up, he had no choice but to bite the bullet and move home, but he didn’t stay idle. He decided to photograph friends who found themselves in similar situations and sent some of the early proofs to NYT Magazine. Obviously, they loved them.

Here is a selection of images from the series, which was shot in 8 states and 14 cities across the U.S.:













But as sad as some of these images can seem, it’s important to realize that this fate is oftentimes a self-inflicted form of delayed gratification. As Adam Davidson points out in the Boomerang Kids NYT Magazine feature:

Many are rejecting the Dilbertian goal of a steady, if unsatisfying, job for years of experimentation, even repeated failure, that eventually leads to a richly satisfying career. Sleeping in a twin bed under some old Avril Lavigne posters is not a sign of giving up; it’s an economic plan.

To see more of Casarez’s work, be sure to visit his website. And if you’d like more insight into these portraits, check out the NYT Magazine feature by clicking here.

Image credits: Photographs by Damon Casarez and used with permission

  • Biff

    You realize you just called “Socialism” NECESSARY?

    You moron. ROFL

    All those roads, bridges, and the military is a form of socialism.

    Contrary to your thought: Local vs Federal is not what makes socialism.

    You’re demonstrating your absolute stupidity to all of us here.

  • ipencil

    Because tax payers shouldn’t be held responsible for other people’s irresponsibility. Also, I paid for the roads, police, fire departments as did other tax payers and yes ALL of those things should be privately funded, since private markets place value on actual value, rather than through the political process which places value on theater and cheap rhetoric.

  • Fullstop

    I think this photographic study is unique and personal.

    Also, it’s funny when I scroll down to the comments and I don’t actually read them but I pick up on certain words being used: Bush, Republicans, Obama, Marxists OH MY!

  • EleanorENewsome

    just before I looked at the check of $9501 , I didnt
    believe that my best friend truley erning money in there spare time from their
    laptop. . there mums best friend has been doing this 4 only 14 months and as of
    now paid for the morgage on there home and got a top of the range Chrysler .
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  • Sean

    Keep voting Democrat, losers.

  • Shell

    Come on kiddos. Go to the most expensive for-profit school and take out as much debt as you possibly can. Don’t question it, just do it, everyone should go to college don’t be stupid.

    I’ve got some BIG money on shorting Sallie May, and need all your help.

  • Kyle Clements

    Ooooh, sorry man. I wish I would have known. I would love to help you out! But, you see I kind of skipped the whole college thing, went to a trade school on a scholarship instead, and got a really good union job, all without incurring a cent of student loan debt. Like I said, I’m real sorry man. :(