Adults Living With Parents Essay

You might like this video version of some of the material discussed below

According to the Office for National Statistics, in 2011, nearly 3.0 million adults aged between 20 and 34 were living with a parent or parents, an increase of almost half a million, or 20 per cent, since 1997. This is despite the number of people in the population aged 20 to 34 being largely the same in 1997 and 2011. This means that nearly 1/3 men and 1/7 women in the UK now live with their parents.

If you look at just 30 somethings, however, then the numbers drop to just 5% of women and 10% of men living with their parents

However – Not all ‘Kippers*’ are the same! (*Kids living in their parents’ pockets)

It is important to keep in mind that not all ‘adult kids’ are the same; experiences of living at home with your parents into your 30s will vary.

For example, the experience of being a NEET and living at home with your parents may well be different to being one of the ‘Boomerang Kids’ – who move out to go to university but then move back in with their parents afterwards

Some adult kids would have lived at home continuously, but many would have moved out for a period with a partner, and then moved back in again.

Adult-Kids will also vary as to the extent to which they are forced into living with their parents due to financial reasons, or choose to do so for ‘lifestyle reasons’.

Experiences will also differ depending on parental attitudes to having their adult children living with them.

Why are increasing numbers of ‘adult children’ living with their parents?

Many commentators stress that young adults have no choice but to live with their parents, focusing on structural (mainly economic) reasons that force people to live with their parents.

The following structural changes mean it is harder for young people to transition to independent living.

  1. The massive expansion in higher education has seen the number of undergraduate students triple since 1970, from 414,000 to 1.27 million – this means more young adults are not in work and economically dependent on their parents for longer.
  2. The recent recession has been accompanied by a sharp increase in unemployment rates among young adults,” This means that recent graduates, especially men, are increasingly returning to live with their parents after graduating.  Their numbers are being swelled by the increasing levels of student debt they have accumulated by the time they finish their studies.
  3. Then there are changes in the housing market. Even those in work cannot afford to move out of the family home as first-time buyers now face house prices that are, on average, five times average incomes, compared with a multiple of three times 20 years ago.

However, there are also cultural changes which mean young adults are more likely to choose to live with their parents even when they could move out.

  1. There is more uncertainty about what a ‘normal relationship’ is. Changing roles of men and women and changing expectations of relationships and family life result in young people being more reluctant to settle down in a classic long term relationship.
  2. The meaning of ‘being 20 something is different today to what it was in the 1970s. Today, we simply want to ‘settle down’ later in life – 20s have become about ‘pulling and dating’, ‘30s about serious long term relationships, and late 30s about children. Of those 20 somethings who do flee the parental nest, they are increasingly likely to either live alone or share with friends. The number of young couple households has been decreasing in recent years.
  3. The increasing number of ‘kippers’ might also be linked to the increasing instability of relationships. There are plenty of late 20s and 30 somethings who have previously moved in with a partner for a few years, suffered a relationship breakdown, ended up back with their parents and are now reluctant to recommit!

See this Guardian post for further info

Perspectives on the ‘not quite children’

Most of the commentary on this social trend seems to be negative – focusing on such things as:

Some research, however, suggests that adults living at home with their parents can be a positive thing – As this research, based on 500 ‘adult-kids’ in the USA suggests

‘Few 20-somethings who live at home are mooching off their parents. More often, they are using the time at home to gain necessary credentials and save money for a more secure future.

Helicopter parents aren’t so bad after all. Involved parents provide young people with advantages, including mentoring and economic support, that have become increasingly necessary to success.’

Find out More

For More posts on families and households please click here

For a more extended discussion of trends which lie behind increasing family diversity please click here

Nice blog post on ‘how returning to live with our parents in our 30s benefited both sides’

BBC News – 1.6 Million people aged 20-40 live with their parents

Barbara Ellen of the Guardian really doesn’t approve – NB most of the commentators don’t approve of her views either!

Like this:



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Why I Choose to Live with My Parents

By Clarissa Wei

Let’s be honest — living at Mom and Dad’s is not sexy. In America, it screams dependent, broke, entitled and extremely lazy.

I’m 23 years old, and I live with my parents in Los Angeles. Yet at one point in my life, moving as far away as possible from my overbearing folks was among my regular rotation of daydreams.

Five years ago, my parents cried when I was accepted at a college 3,000 miles away from home. They begged me not to go; I left anyway. I went on to live in six different apartments: four in New York, one in Shanghai and one in Los Angeles. I started to hate buying furniture; I hated assembling it even more. But I insisted on all of that because I wanted sexy — that sleek sense of independence that came with solo living.

I wanted to have my friends over for as long as possible without the passive-aggressive side eye from my hovering parents. I wanted to throw lavish dinner parties without worrying about displacing a utensil or a beloved dish and getting lectured the morning after.

According to statistics from the Pew Research Center, I’m not alone. Living with a parent is the most common young-adult living arrangement for the first time on record.

Because let’s face it, no matter how old you are, lectures from Mom will never go away as long as you’re under her roof. Parents are parents, and worrying is in their job description.

Yet a while ago, I found myself giving up the keys of my nice little apartment in Studio City, moving all my accumulated furniture into a warehouse and dragging all my remaining possessions back into my childhood home. I’m back, and I have no immediate plans to leave. My parents were delighted when I announced my decision. “You make the right choice,” my mom had quipped cheerfully.

According to statistics from the Pew Research Center, I’m not alone. Living with a parent is the most common young-adult living arrangement for the first time on record.

I’d like to think I’m far from lazy, dependent, broke and entitled. I pay my own bills; I feed myself; and I work a healthy five days a week as a freelance writer. I live at home not because I have to, but because I want to.

It’s convenient for me. My parents live in the heart of the San Gabriel Valley, a region of Los Angeles County that’s ripe with the best Chinese food in the nation. As a food writer, I find it to be a gold mine. I live within a 10-minute driving radius from four Taiwanese breakfast joints, a handful of great noodle eateries and my favorite hot-pot restaurant. Our house is also tucked inside suburbia, relatively far from the traffic-infested centers of Los Angeles proper.

It’s extremely comfortable here, and while I admit I have a pretty sweet living arrangement, the biggest reason is this: at this point in my life, I want mobility, and I want to save money.

I want my income to be used toward experiences and trips. I’d rather pay rent to my parents instead of the money going into the hands of a random landlord. I don’t want to deal with inevitable roommate drama. I don’t want the burden of home ownership right now. In fact, I want to own as few things as humanly possible.

It comes with sacrifices, though, and at times the arrangement can feel a bit regressive. While friends get to have cocktail parties and hot guys over at their places, I’m extremely careful with whom I let into my house. My dating life is effectively down the drain, and privacy is hard to come by. Hilariously, basic knocking etiquette does not exist in my family, and my parents have taken great measures to install security cameras around the property.

If I leave a misplaced book on a table or forget to put my dishes immediately in the sink, I’ll hear a frustrated sigh from across the house and signs of an impending sermon.

The surveillance extends outside my physical home. I can’t stay out late without an inevitable blast of texts that read, “Where r u?!!!!???????!,” “Come home soon” and “No stay out that late, OK? OK? OK?”

But there are also some sweet spots to it. Sometimes those texts will read, “I did your laundry,” “I helped you deposit your checks” or “We have dinner at home. I make food.”

When I get sick, a hot cup of warm ginger tea will magically appear by my bedside. And when I’m heartbroken, they’ll know to leave me alone and speak more gently.

And so while my home life is far from glamorous, it’s definitely full of comfort and stability. And that’s exactly the stability I need as I figure out the unstable parts of my 20s and ask myself, who am I? Whom do I want to be? Who are my friends, and what are my priorities?

Then there’s the reality of it all: I’m going to have to leave home one day. My parents can’t house me forever, and eventually, I will want to start my own home, my own family and my own slew of overbearing text messages.

But at 23, that time isn’t now. So I’m going to stay at home because it makes sense logistically and gives me the flexibility and spending money to pursue my ambitions and dreams.

Maybe living at home will be the new sexy. Maybe it should be.


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