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08/02/2019

Number of young adults living with parents rises to 3.4m

Words: Huw Morris
Young People Shutterstock

Almost a million more young adults are living with their parents today compared with the late 1990s as housing pressures have exerted a two-decade squeeze on household formation.

Research by think tank Civitas reveals that the proportion of 20-to-34-year-olds in the UK living in the parental home increased by a third between 1998 and 2017, from 2.4 million to 3.4 million.

This amounts to nearly 26per cent of that age group.

When population growth among that age group is taken into account, this is equivalent to an increase of 900,000. Civitas said young adults who move out of their parents’ home are much less likely to live on their own than two decades ago after a collapse in single living among younger age groups, which had been an increasingly popular choice until the late 1990s.

Among those aged 25 to 44, the number of people living alone in the UK has fallen from a high of 1.8 million in 2002 to 1.3 million in 2017. The changes, which Civitas added appear to be driven by housing pressures, help to explain why average household sizes – which had been falling for most of the 20th century – plateaued in the 2000s and have even started rising in some places.

The proportion of single-person households has levelled out at about 30 per cent in stark contrast to most of northern and western Europe, where single living has increased rapidly to more than 35 per cent of all households in France and the Netherlands and more than 40 per cent in Germany and Denmark.

The rise in young adults living with their parents has been highest in London, with a 41 per cent increase between 1996-1998 and 2014-2015 where housing costs are greatest, and the smallest in the North East with 17 per cent, and Yorkshire and Humberside at 14 per cent where average housing costs are lowest.

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