An American Crossroads political ad is going around saying that 85% of recent college graduates are moving back in with their parents.
That's a large percentage, and thus shocking to me that more media organizations didn’t actually look into the number before blasting it all over their websites. Thankfully, Politifact did.
The organization that put out the number, a group called Twentysomething (whose website is now defunct) appears to have pulled the number out of thin air.
Politifact’s first inclination that something was wrong was when it realized half of the staff listed on the website was either made up or hadn’t ever worked for the organization, and the pictures listed next to them were stock photos found for free and used everywhere. The picture “senior analyst for qualitative research, “Susan Deane, can be found on Flickr listed as “confident happy young African- American business woman smiling.”
When the organization tried to call David Morrison, managing director and founder of Twentysomething, he said the company was out of business and the figures were a few years old and thus not credible any more, but said he wouldn’t reveal how he got his numbers or who he did the study for. When they called him again to chat about the discrepancies on the website and the fake employees, he declined to answer and told them not to contact him again.
I spell a conspiracy theory brewing.
In any case, the numbers are bunk. The actual number of college grads taking up residence at mom and dad’s is about three and 10, according to the Pew Research Center. And as a member of this recent-grad generation, I’m proud to say we aren’t as failure-oriented as the 85% figure would have indicated.
So I wonder if we can expect corrections from CNN Money, The NY Post, Time Magazine, US News & World Report, The Huffington Post and PT Money for running an unverified statistic? Don’t bet on it. That's because 85% is way more dramatic than 30%.