Boomerang Kids Keep Coming Home

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CBS/AP

Tiffany Harrington may be too busy packing in New Mexico to realize it, but as CBS News Correspondent Richard Schlesinger reports, she's helping to change the look of the American family.

Joining a long line of young adults who are running back home to live with their parents again.

"It's going to be a lot different than being on my own," says Harrington.

At age 31, Tiffany is looking for a new life and a new job. So, she's decided to move in with her mother for the first time since she was 18.

"The whole thing about being back in my mother's house after so long, it's a little weird," she says.

It's also a little weird for her mother, Liz, who's waiting for her in Virginia.

"She said, 'I'm moving back,'" says her mother. "I'm like, 'Great, it's just wonderful.'"

"Then she said, 'I mean into the house.'"

It may be a new idea to Liz and Tiffany and most people, but it's happening more every day.

"It's a staggering number," says David Morrison, who tracks the spending patterns of young people.

He estimates as many as 65 percent of college graduates are showing up on their parents' doorsteps looking for free room and board while they're looking for work.

It wasn't that long ago that kids moving back home were considered losers and the parents were considered failures. Maybe it's because jobs can be hard to find. Maybe it's because so many people are doing it, but Morrison says, there's no stigma any more.

"As alien as it may appear to you, it is a very rational response to the economic and social climate that we're living in," says Morrison.

But there can still be plenty of problems.

When Harrington finally arrived home, her mother greeted her with a hug and a kiss and a contract, requiring Tiffany to clean up, respect her mother's privacy and keep Zack the dog off the furniture.

But after a week, mother and daughter were on each other's nerves and at each other's throats. And they're still wondering if this arrangement that works for many other families works for them.

"It was bad and I don't recommend it," says Harrington.

They say they have managed to work it out.

"Yeah, somewhat,'' says Harrington.

"For the most part, says Tiffany.

They're still living together. And Harrington is still looking for a job to get back on her feet -- so she can walk out her mother's door for good.