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Feature Article

What the statistics tell us about young peoples’ experience of living at home with their parents

by Gerry Reilly, a Senior Statistician at the CSO, in the area of income, consumption and wealth

CSO featured article,

On 21 May 2024, the median age of purchasers with a mortgage quoated in this article in the section on the profile of house buyers was corrected from 33 to 43, to a median age of 33 to 37. We apologise for any inconvenience this may have caused.

Housing is one of the most talked about social issues and recently, there has been particular focus on the number of young adults who are living with their parents and the lived experience of those in this situation. We’ve looked at the data to see what it tells us.

Firstly, how many young adults live with their parents?

Census 2022 told us that over 440,000 young adults were living with their parents, up 13% from Census 2016. This accounts for 41% of people aged between 18 and 34 in Census 2022. In Census 2016, 37% of this cohort lived at home and in Census 2011 it was 32%. (Adults Living with Their Parents - CSO - Central Statistics Office)

What else do the Census 2022 figures tell us about the number of people living at home with their parents?

The figures show that the older you become the less likely you are to live at home. In 2022, 24 was the cut-off age at which more than half of people were no longer living with their parents, which was up from 23 years in 2011. One in five (20%) people aged 30 at the time of Census 2022 were living with their parents, up from 13% in 2011. The figures vary by region and in 2022 Galway City had the lowest proportion of adults living with their parents, while South Dublin had the highest.

What do we know about their experiences living at home?

Everyone’s experience of home life is different, depending on our relationships, supports, and challenges. This is why the CSO’s online Pulse survey Life at home 2021 (Introduction and Summary of Main Results Pulse Survey - Life at Home 2021: Renters, Lone Parents and Adults Living Alone or with a Parent - Central Statistics Office) is so valuable as it provides rich insights into this area.

A key consideration is understanding why people are living at home with their parents and the survey showed financial considerations were an important factor. Six in ten (62%) of those who were in full-time employment said they were living with their parents mostly for financial reasons, a further 22% said that it was ‘a little bit to do with finances’ with only 16% saying financial reasons had nothing to do with their decision to live at home.

How do adults feel about living at home with their parents, or how do parents feel about living with adult children?

This was particularly interesting as the results showed a significant difference in how the parents felt about the situation compared with their adult children. Almost six in ten (57%) of those who live with a parent said they enjoyed it, however, of the parents surveyed who had an adult child living with them, 87% said they enjoyed living with an adult child.

This difference in perception was apparent as almost nine in ten (88%) of those who were living with a parent said they would prefer to move out, while 50% of parents would prefer if their adult child moved out.

Did those living at home feel they were treated as an adult by their parents or had independence?

This section of the survey also provided interesting results, as more than half of respondents (52%) who were living with a parent felt their parent(s) would not treat them as an adult unless they moved out.

The feeling of a lack of independence came through very strongly with seven in ten (70%) saying they did not have enough independence to have friends around or in their choice of meals.

What do we know about how bills are shared?

Running a household costs money and we were keen to get insights around how families negotiated this issue. What we found was overall, more than eight in ten (83%) of those in full-time employment who lived with a parent said they contributed to household expenses, with 64% of those in part-time employment contributing to such expenses, and 29% of students doing so.

Do we know what sparked most disagreements?

We found that household chores, using shared household facilities, and noise were the most common causes of disagreements. Six in ten (60%) respondents who lived with a parent said they Sometimes or Often disagreed with others in the household about chores. 

More than two in ten (22%) adults living with both parents said their father’s opinion mostly prevails and double the amount (44%) said it is their mother's opinion that mostly prevails when there is a disagreement between their parents.

What does CSO data tell us about the profile of house buyers?

The median age of residential property buyers increased from 35 to 39 years between 2010 and 2021. For purchasers with a mortgage, the median age rose from 33 to 37 years between 2010 to 2021 (Age of Purchasers Characteristics of Residential Property Purchasers - Estimates of Mortgage and Non-Mortgage Transactions 2021 - Central Statistics Office). 

Looking at the profile of buyers, we can see that first time buyers accounted for 54% of dwelling purchases in 2010 however, this fell to 35% in 2023 (Additional Indicators Residential Property Price Index February 2024 - Central Statistics Office).

While the median price paid by a purchaser with a mortgage was €309,000 in 2021, the median loan amount was €220,000 for the same period. In 2010 the median price paid by a purchaser with a mortgage was €247,000 and the median loan amount was €191,000.

Results from the 2020 Household Finance and Consumption Survey (Analysis by Household Characteristics - CSO - Central Statistics Office) show that homeowners overall are more than twice as likely as renters to have received at least one inheritance or substantial gift at some point in their lives (44% compared with 18%). The value of the gift or inheritance was also much greater on average for homeowners compared to renters, with median values of €98,300 and €15,200 respectively.

Note: Percentages are rounded to the nearest percentage point.

Editor's Note

This content was published by RTE on 01 May 2024 in an article What statistics tell us about the 440,000 young adults living with parents.
Gerry Reilly is a Senior Statistician at the CSO, in the area of income, consumption and wealth.

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