Adult children staying at home longer

painting by Amandah Tayler Blackwell
According to a recent study conducted in the UK, a record number of 20 to 34-year-olds are still living at home – a 20 per cent increase on the figure recorded in 1997. It's the same story here in Australia, with a quarter of 20-34 year olds in Sydney and Melbourne still living in the parental home. (link)

Once upon-a-time adult children didn't move out of the family home until they were married.  That was considered the norm and no one thought it was odd. However, as young people put off getting married so early, began earning higher incomes and were being encouraged to become more independent, they flew the nest long before they married.  When it became more acceptable to live in defacto relationships, young people left home to set up their own homes -- marriage was no longer a requirement to leave home. However, as rentals increase and become more expensive (and not always very nice) and young people wanting to save for their own homes (that are also very expensive), the tables have reversed and a growing number are deciding to stay home with mum and dad.

Interestingly, according to a small study undertaken by the Australian Institute of Family Studies, those that stay at home are more likely to be male and have one parent born overseas (from a non-English speaking country).  The need to be independent and to fly the coop is more typical of those born in Australia, USA and the UK, whilst those from Middle Eastern, Asia and some European backgrounds, staying at home until marriage is still consider to be "the right thing to do", but I think over time we will see a movement in this group to as they become "westernised" and their traditional values wain in our very liberal nations.

However, many parents are eager for their adult children to leave home -- they want to convert the house to their new empty-nester arrangements, reduce the amount of work they do (washing, cooking, cleaning etc), retire and do other things such as travel or cut back costs. They also want to see their children become independent and be able to cope on their own. However I can see this trend continue for sometime, as long as house prices and rentals remain high.

Issues do arise when adult children return home, such as financial arrangements, rules about helping around the home (cooking and cleaning), bringing girl/boy friends back for the night and as a result it doesn't always go plain sailing.

Whilst I don't have any issues with adult children remaining at home (it can provided help and companionship to the parents especially if they are ageing), my eldest son moved out when he was 22 and very eager to go. Whilst I would have liked him to remain at home (always sad to farewell a child) - moving out has turned him for a teenager to a responsible grown man - it has been the making of him.  He has matured and now able to run a home, organise his finances, cook, shop responsibility, behave like a adult - something that only moving out was able to achieve, it taught him independences and this is an essential skill for all young adults.  It really was the best thing for him to do. He hasn't got into mischief or caused me to grief, he has excelled and I am very proud of him.

What are your views on this trend? 


  1. with jacob being our only child I know it will be hard, as I and him are close.

  2. Our boys have yo~yo'd a bit. Lid didn't really move out until she went overseas. For the boys income did not meet expectations & they were not earning enough to manage financially independently ~ especially ina shared house arrangement where there was pressue from the highest earner that everyone meet his SoL. Now one is in the army & one is a resort manager with housing provided; one is studying & back home; Lid is overseas & we aren't expecting that Star will be moving out in a hurry. What I don't understand is the parents who refuse to help out [not pander or coddle, or indulge, simply help] as the costs of living independently, especially on a lower income are astronomical & to me it simple makes more sense to keep as many as possible under the one roof & share the costs.

  3. I personally see nothing wrong with children remaining home until they marry. I hold a bit to traditional or old-fashioned views and think there's nothing wrong with staying home as long as possible - it's a great idea for saving money. Something I have noticed is that bachelors who have lived on their own (in their own home) for too long without family around can be a real problem when they get married because they are so used to being alone and doing things their own way (makes things difficult for their poor wife!!)!

    1. Bachelors who remain single for a long while do tend to get stuck in their ways and that I am sure is difficult for their wives. I do think though that men, if they don't marry young should move out at some point and become independent - they need to learn to stand on their own and it doesn't do them any harm. Its a little different for women, but I don't have a problem if they marry later in life to move into their own homes, they may never marry and at some point they will need to become independent.


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