Rising trend of 'boomerang' young adults returning to live at home

Rising trend of ‘boomerang’ young adults returning to live with their parents is here to stay says study

  • Research found that around 60 per cent of grown-up children live with parents
  • The proportion has risen from 55 per cent to 63 per cent over the last 10 years
  • Study done by Loughborough University’s Centre for Research in Social Policy

An increasing trend of ‘boomerang’ young adults moving back in with their parents is here to stay, according to a study.

Researchers found that nearly two-thirds of childless single adults aged 20-34 in the UK have either never left home or had to move back in because of a precarious jobs market, sky-high rents, low wages and life shocks.

An estimated 3.5million single young adults are thought to live with their parents, an increase of a third over the past decade. 

As the economic and social impact of the coronavirus pandemic deepens, this trend is likely to accelerate, the researchers said. 

The author of the study, Katherine Hill, from Loughborough University’s Centre for Research in Social Policy, said that the trend is ‘here to stay’. 

An increasing trend of ‘boomerang’ young adults moving back in with their parents is here to stay, according to a study 

She said: ‘Children living at home well into their 20s is not a temporary phenomenon, it’s here to stay,’ 

‘A lot of young people will spend most of a decade of their lives living like this.’ 

Her study found that staying in the family home after the age of 18 is now common among people from all ethnic backgrounds and most income groups.

The Loughborough research was the first large-scale study into the ‘boomerang’ phenomenon. 

It found that between 2008 and 2018, the proportion of single 20 to 34-year-olds without children who lived with their parents grew from 55 per cent to 63 per cent.

Around 71 per cent of people in their early 20s are living with their parents, while the figure is 54 per cent for those in their late 20s. 

Around a third of people in their early 30s are also still living at home, the researchers found.     

The researchers said that the prospect of sharing a home with grown-up children for up to 10 years would require a reassessment of expectations for both parents and their offspring.

Negotiating factors such as grown-up children paying rent, contributing to bills and helping with household chores can cause ‘some anguish’.

Issues of privacy and independence also arise, especially if the home is overcrowded.

Senaka Rupasinha, 26, from Maidstone, Kent, is a Chemistry teacher who moved back home in February after six months working as a teacher in London.

He told MailOnline that it ‘didn’t feel good’ to have to move back home and initially he wanted to ‘get back out there’ as quickly as possible. 

He said: ‘The main thing is that you’re back into the parent-child dynamic. You’re no longer your own boss. You have to do what your mum or dad says because they’re there.’

However, Mr Rupasinha, who had to move back home because of a health issue and now teaches online, said he has been able to save a lot of money because he no longer has to pay rent in London.

‘That’s been one of the benefits,’ he said. 

‘My parents don’t charge me on rent so I get to save the majority of the money that I have coming in.’

The Loughborough study also claimed that low-income families are hit hardest by the trend of children moving back home because it can mean they are entitled to fewer benefits than when they are supporting a child under 18.   

On Monday, the Government was urged to hold a jobs summit by former Prime Minister Gordon Brown amid warnings that up to one million young people could be unemployed within weeks 

In some cases, this can be compensated for by the young adult’s earnings, although parents can still lose out, depending on how much their grown-up children contribute to family expenses. 

The total combined benefit income for a couple with a child aged 24 living with them is £25 a week less than if the young person is aged 14.

This is because working age benefits for a 24 year old are less than tax credits and child benefit for a 14-year-old. 

Overall, a family on benefits with a 24-year-old at home is up to £90 a week worse off compared with if they had a child aged 14, when living costs are included.  

The research comes after figures revealed a record-breaking 538,000 under-25s claimed Universal Credit in lockdown.   

And on Monday, the Government was urged to hold a jobs summit amid warnings that up to one million young people could be unemployed within weeks.

The Alliance For Full Employment (AFFE), launched by Labour former premier Gordon Brown, said ministers must set out a joint plan agreed with the devolved governments of Scotland, Wales, Northern Ireland and England’s city region metro mayors to tackle youth unemployment.

Research for the alliance suggests that 1.5 million young people will need help over the coming year to deal with the increase in unemployment.

Professor Paul Gregg, who wrote a report for AFFE, said the Government’s Kickstart youth unemployment programme will not provide anywhere near enough places for those in need of support.

Around 60 per cent of redundancies since March have hit the under-25s and the unemployment rate for young men is already more than three times the adult rate, said the report.

Mr Brown said: ‘This report charts the arithmetic of deprivation and desolation as youth unemployment gets out of control and that will alarm every parent in every region and nation of Britain.

‘Today we are dealing with a far bigger challenge than in the 1980s and it needs a UK-wide jobs summit brining together the regions and nations with the Prime Minister.

‘Some will say this is too difficult to organize given the current breakdown in relationships between Number 10 and the regions and nations, but if we do not listen to what is happening on the ground and mobilise all the resources of the whole of the UK and work together to co-ordinate our response, we will fail a generation of young people as surely as we did for too long in the 1980s.

‘The Prime Minister should recognise that, when all his initiatives – Kickstart and the other related training and jobs initiatives – are taken together, they simply do not meet his promise of ‘an opportunity generation’ with help available to all.

‘Current plans do not yet cover a large number of the young people who will need support, nor do they yet all offer the high-quality work experience and training young people need.’

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