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Life with mum and dad: More UK adults still living with their parents, new figures reveal

An adult living at home with their parents.
An adult living at home with their parents. Copyright Canva stock images
Copyright Canva stock images
By Joshua Askew
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Nearly five million Brits are still living with mum and dad, a statistical agency has found.

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More British adults are living with their parents, new figures from the Office for National Statistics (ONS) have revealed. 

The agency found the number of adults in England and Wales living with mum and dad rose 14.7% to 4.9 million between 2021 to 2011. 

That means around 1 in every 4.5 families contains an adult child - up from 1 in 5 a decade ago. 

There are many reasons why an adult may live with their parents, explained the ONS. They are more likely to be unemployed or providing unpaid care for their parents, while those in areas with high property prices have a tendency to stay put.   

House prices in Britain lept more than 145% between 1996 and 2021, the second highest rate in Europe. 

Speaking to Euronews in March, one expert said this was due to "demand far outstripping supply", amid a shortage of social housing and cultural "aspirations" for homeownership. 

The average age of those living at home rose between 2011 and 2021, increasing from 23 to 24 years old in the ONS findings. 

At-home adults were oldest in the British capital, where more than one in four families still has an adult living with them.  

Studies by the Institute for Social and Economic Research show that moving back home can improve mental health, thanks in part to a stressful and increasingly expensive rental market. 

However, others have criticised the trend as denying adults their independence, keeping them in a child-like state and creating anxiety and depression.

Families with adult children were more likely to be living in overcrowded houses - another precursor of mental health issues - with fewer bedrooms than required, said the ONS. 

London was the most expensive place to get on the property ladder in 2022, with the average worker spending 12.5 times their salary to buy a home near where they work. 

Men also outnumbered women by a ratio of three to two in the ONS study. Just over 60% of those opting to stay at home were male, compared to 40% for females. 

Though the Census 2021 was conducted during COVID, which saw huge disruption to people's lives, the ONS said the rise in the number of adults living with their parents was a "continuing trend rather than a result of the pandemic".

Across England and Wales, the share of 20 to 24-year-olds living with their parents rose to more than half. Meanwhile, more than 1 in 10 of those aged between 30 and 35 were still living with their parents, according to the ONS.

Not only are adults living with their parents more likely to be students or unemployed, they are also more likely to be looking after someone, with one in four being unpaid carers. 

Just over 8% of at home adults aged 22 to 64 years were unemployed, compared to 3.7% of all individuals in this age group. 

London had the highest share of unemployed adult children aged 22 to 64 years (10.4%) among the English regions.

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The ONS defined adults as people above the age of 18 still living with their parents, alongside anyone 16 and over who was not in full-time education.

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