Poorer families hit by boomerang generation
FINANCIAL STRAIN AS YOUNG ADULTS FORCED TO LIVE WITH PARENTS
THE financial strain on low-income families is set to increase as more young adults return to their parents’ homes, a report has concluded.
About 3.5 million single young people, without children, are now living with their parents.
A study by Loughborough University found these 20 to 34-year-olds are being hard hit by the unemployment caused by coronavirus – a problem which is likely to increase.
The boomerang generation trend is reflected across society, but lowincome families are expected to feel the pinch worst of all, which could happen if their benefit payments are reduced due to adult children still living at home.
Lead researcher Katherine Hill, of Loughborough’s Centre for Research in Social Policy (CRSP), 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 living like this.
“Government needs to respond to this not just by helping people get on the housing ladder, but also ensuring they do not increase the strain on already-stretched families by penalising them through the benefits system.
“As a start, it should stop deducting housing benefit from parents who live with sons and daughters who do not have sufficient earnings to pay rent.”
The study, funded by Standard Life Foundation, found that between 2008/09 and 2017/18, 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.
Single young adults were most likely to be living with their parents in their early 20s (71 per cent), but a majority still live in the parental home in their late 20s (54 per cent), before a decline among those in their early 30s (33 per cent).
In Asian families, young adults tend to live at home for much longer.
The trend affects all income groups
Common influences include the precarity of young adults’ labour market experiences and the high cost of housing.
Parents with good jobs and their own home are more likely to have their sons and daughters living with them in their 20s and early 30s, because people in the private rental sector generally have less space and resources to help their children. The proportion of families living in private rented homes has risen d rama t i c a l l y from one in 12 twenty years ago, to one in four today. As children in such families reach adulthood, their parents are likely to struggle to provide them with accommodation when they need it.
Mubin Haq, chief executive of Standard Life Foundation, said: “Too often the growing demographic trend of young people living with their parents is seen through a middle-class lens.
“But for families on lower incomes, there’s a real danger of living standards being squeezed.
“Young people’s employment has been hit hardest by Covid and, increasingly, more are returning to live with their parents.
“The state assumes young adults will contribute to family rent, but gives them no support to do so.
“Moreover, it cuts parents’ benefit entitlements. Doing the right thing by your children shouldn’t lead to an increased risk of hardship.”
Doing the right thing by your children shouldn’t lead to an increased risk of hardship