Living with Mum and Dad

 
Ronnie Corbett and Barbara Lott in Sorry Still in the parental home - Ronnie Corbett in Sorry

This week my eldest daughter announced she was moving out.

At the age of 23, she had found a flat-share she could afford. A wave of sadness swept over me - our family unit was crumbling. But, like many parents, I also felt a sense of relief that she had finally found a way out of the nest.

My wife and I both said goodbye to our respective parents well before our 21st birthdays and to us, there is something almost odd about still sharing a home with your mum and dad after your education is complete.

We learn today, though, that a quarter of all 20-34 year-olds in the UK still live with their parents. According to analysis of census data by the Office for National Statistics, since 1996, the number of young adults still at home with their mum or dad has increased by 25% to 3.3 million.

In some parts of Britain, the proportion is far greater. In Northern Ireland, a third of 20-34 year-olds are living with parents, compared to London and Yorkshire where the proportion is just 22%.

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More people go to university now and students are likely to wait until after their education before getting married or agreeing to cohabit”

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Britain's living habits appear to be changing - becoming more southern European, perhaps. While in Scandinavian countries, children tend to leave home by the age of 20 or 21, in Italy, Greece, Slovakia and Slovenia it tends to be late 20s for daughters and above 30 for sons. In Bulgaria, most men are still living at home at 35.

So what is going on? In Britain, the biggest increase is found among 20-24 year-olds - 49% of that age group still live at home. One obvious reason for that is housing affordability - the ratio of house prices paid by first-time buyers to their incomes is now 4.4, up from 2.7 back in 1996.

Millions of parents will recognise the problem of a child in their late teens or early 20s unable to afford to buy or even to rent a home in some parts of the country. Certainly with my children, finding a decent and affordable place to live in London has proved immensely difficult.

But there are other reasons why young adults are not flying the nest as they once did. The big increase in the figures coincides with the economic downturn. The proportion of young people (18-24) who are unemployed has risen from 13% in 2008 to 19% last year. Without a job it becomes much harder to make that big move into the wider world.

Among 20-34 year-olds who live with their parents, 13% are without a job. Among those who live independently, it is 6%. Austerity more generally has meant that young adults may choose to study at a college or university close to the parental home, avoiding expensive accommodation costs.

Welcome mat

Men are more likely than women to still be living at home in their mid to late 20s. For every 10 women, 17 men aged 20-34 are still shacked up with their parents. The main reason is that women tend to form partnerships with men older than they are - so more in the 20-34 age group are married or cohabiting.

I do wonder whether there is also a tendency for young people generally to settle down in a relationship later in life. More people go to university now and students are likely to wait until after their education before getting married or agreeing to cohabit.

Lifestyles may be changing, but Britain is far from unusual. Of the 28 countries in the European Union, only six have a lower proportion of 25-34 year-olds living with their parents than the UK.

 
Mark Easton Article written by Mark Easton Mark Easton Home editor

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  • rate this
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    Comment number 24.

    Cutting HB to over 25's will see more flocking back to the old nest with some interesting political implications. It is difficult to see the housing market getting any better over the next few years and many young (34?) people are keen to gain independence asap. What some here seem to forget is the chronic devaluation of savings that mainly affect the older generation.

  • rate this
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    Comment number 23.

    I think parents are now paying the price for borrowing too much in the 70's. While they partied harder than we will ever do in our generation, they greedily borrowed in excess and we are now living in economic depravity because of it, un-able and un-willing to afford the excess our banks now "offer" us. I fled the UK in search of opportunities - what the UK needs.

  • rate this
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    Comment number 22.

    The grass is always greener on the other side. That is until you get to the end of the rainbow. That's where the pot of gold is. Unfortunately right now there isn't much gold around but we're minting plenty more as we speak. $85 billion a month but it's not nearly enough after what happened. But slowly and surely it's coming back. It always has and I expect it always will

  • rate this
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    Comment number 21.

    6.Actionr "Sadly for youth, UK is not worth it. Better opportunities lie outside this country."

    That's an odd statement to make, considering that there are plenty of Polish youths that find all the opportunities they want. The trouble with today's youth is that they want everything now. Either save for a house or go out every night and buy the latest consumer goods. You can't have it both ways.

  • rate this
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    Comment number 20.

    16" But as rude & obnoxious as you are? I think not."

    That's it! That's what we inherited from Britain. I just knew there was something we got from you, thanks for reminding me. Only you Brits are so used to it you don't see it in yourselves. But don't take my word for it. Just ask the Spanish. Especially at the resorts where Brits hang out. Hyacinth Bucket. Of course.

  • rate this
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    Comment number 19.

    There is a solution to all this is to stop have housing as a commodity.So it would then be a tax burden on the capitalist class to house their wage enslaved workers.Oh! we already had this partially with council type housing,well lets do away with capitalism and the capitalist parasite class, as there would be enough food clothing and shelter for everyone in a global free access socialist society.

  • rate this
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    Comment number 18.

    We kicked both our boys out when they reached 18 and allowed them back to live once. They felt we were hard on them, as did our work colleagues, but they acknowledge that it was the best thing we could have done for them. Neither of them went empty handed as they both had a small trust fund from the Grandfather. Now we still support them, if we can, when life gets really difficult.

  • rate this
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    Comment number 17.

    I reluctantly moved south after Uni in the 80s downturn for better job prospects and managed to get on the property ladder in then cheap East London by age 26. I am still imprisoned in commuter-land and my daughter's opportunities are similarly focussed so even paying £500pm travel costs she is better off at home. Good job we like each other.

  • rate this
    -1

    Comment number 16.

    11.sieuarlu
    2 Hours ago
    "How sharper than a serpent's tooth it is to have a thankless child"
    That's Shakespeare.I'm sure all you Brits already know that because of your outstanding education system...
    "I refuse to join any club that would have me as a member"

    That's Groucho Marx for all you uneducated Brits

    Uneducated? Hmm, perhaps. But as rude & obnoxious as you are? I think not.

  • rate this
    -1

    Comment number 15.

    It's simply a case of landlords snapping up properties and forcing house prices up. Three-hundred quid a month to live at home or live in a crummy bedsit, the choice is easy.

  • rate this
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    Comment number 14.

    The beauty of living at home is that in return for taking care of your aged parents you will inherit their house (if you're clever about it) and you won't ever have to undergo the ordeal of moving. This has great advantages. In some places it also means property taxes will not go up. You can save a lot of money over a lifetime this way.

  • Comment number 13.

    This comment was removed because the moderators found it broke the house rules. Explain.

  • rate this
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    Comment number 12.

    How come young people blithely say they move back home to save money - save whose money!!! Maybe the parents might want to have their lives to themselves too and not have a financial dependant again! Yes the root of the problem is lack of affordable accommodation in many areas but it seems also a culture shift - I left home at 18 and never went back

  • rate this
    -1

    Comment number 11.

    "How sharper than a serpent's tooth it is to have a thankless child"

    That's Shakespeare.I'm sure all you Brits already know that because of your outstanding education system.Of course children have a grievance against their parents for having conceived them in the first place.

    "I refuse to join any club that would have me as a member"

    That's Groucho Marx for all you uneducated Brits.

  • rate this
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    Comment number 10.

    Our kids (all 3 in their 30's) were all gone by mid-20's and have homes. Lovely to visit or have them visit, but thankful they've done what we did, the expected moving on and moving out. Loved my parents, but living with them after college was over would've been a honey-trap. Sorry for those who have to. Those who choose it, not the best idea.

  • rate this
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    Comment number 9.

    Was so looking forward to returning to the romantic abandon and intimacy of pre-kids life...at this rate we'll be well past it before we get our privacy back!

  • rate this
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    Comment number 8.

    Children in their 20s have parents in their 40s-50s who have a pension crisis looming. Parents should be charging rent so the money goes to help the parent and not just spent frittered away by the "child".

    Some living at home want to move out and can't, but many also see a gravy train (with home made gravy!).

  • rate this
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    Comment number 7.

    Living at home especially if you don't have to pay rent to your parents leaves more money for booze and drugs. What more could a young single guy or gal want? A smart phone and a place to have sex and you've got it made in the shade. Life is good.

  • rate this
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    Comment number 6.

    The house prices and the rents is the main reason for this issue.

    People ignore that the problem is not the 5%-10%-20% of deposit that is asked but the actual house price.

    Sadly for youth, UK is not worth it. Better opportunities lie outside this country.
    If we are priced out of the market due to HTB2/ BTL/ low rates, what about our kids?
    How can they have a future when BoE wants HPI for ever?

  • rate this
    0

    Comment number 5.

    The trouble with renting is the lack of permanency as you are always on the move. Landlords are always terminating tenancy even if you pay the rent on time, it is very unfair. Do they do this thinking they will get more money from immigrants who know no better. The sooner we can have proper long term rentals the better. When you know the rent for one year the sooner the youngsters will leave home

 

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