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AARP The Magazine


The New American Family

Meet 6 clans who embody our country's changing ideas about what kinship is

Boomerang Bunch

The average age of first marriage keeps rising: It's now 26.6 for women, 29 for men. Many young adults return home after graduation and before launching their careers and new families.

Modern Factor: Linda and Mark Michele have four children: one in high school, one in college, one out on her own, and Sean, 24, far left, who returned home after grad school last year in the face of a tough job market.

"He got his MBA, and he really wants to be an entrepreneur," says Mark, 55. Sean's parents are happy that he can stay at home while working part time and launching his own company. "He's very respectful and is not just sitting around playing video games," Mark says. "He does not hesitate to do the dishes or mow the lawn."

A diminished job market may play a role in many such cases, but another factor is the relative harmony between the generations. Unlike in the era of the generation gap, lots of millennials genuinely want to live with their boomer parents — and vice versa.

The Micheles bond through sports. Both Mark and Linda, 53, coach (he, basketball; she, lacrosse) at New York's East Rochester High School, where he is athletic director and she teaches physical education. Sean's company, SPM-Sports, organizes girls' lacrosse tournaments. Daughter Whitney, 27, far right, is an assistant women's lacrosse coach for the University of Massachusetts. Jordan, 20, second from left, plays lacrosse, while the youngest, Casey, 15, plays multiple sports.

But it's not all ESPN all the time with this crew. "We have just as much fun watching The Bachelor on TV," Mark says.


As the last of the Baby Boomer Generation turns 50 and more baby boomers are retiring, AARP celebrates the generation that changed the world.

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