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Adults set to boomerang back to parents to cope with cost of living

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  • One in five independently-living adults are considering moving in with parents to save money
  • One in eight parents whose adult children pay rent have asked them to pay more
  • Adults say they receive £197 in monthly rent from their children on average – but children claim to pay £318 per month
  • More than a quarter of parents who receive rent from their children feel it is too little

A fifth of independently-living adults are contemplating moving back in with parents to cope with the rising cost of living, according to a new study from Aviva.

The research, part of the insurer’s How We Live series, suggests up to 2 million1 grown-up “children” aged 18-34 could be returning to the family nest.

The survey questioned 1,500 parents and 1,500 adult children in different living arrangements2. Among adults who have left their parents’ homes, one “child” in 20 (5%) says they intend to move back. A further 9% have discussed the idea with parents, but are yet to make specific plans, while another 8% have thought about it, but not yet broached the subject with parents.

Parents are even more convinced that their children will return, with almost three in 10 (28%) saying their child either plans to move home or has shown an interest in doing so. 

Official (ONS) figures show 4.8 million adults between the ages of 18 and 34 live with their parents in the UK.

Parents ask adult children to pay more rent

The study also reveals parents living with adult children may be looking to them for financial support. Around half of adults in this situation (53%) say their children pay rent for their bed and board, while a quarter contribute in other ways, such as paying for food or other bills.

Of those who collect rent from their children, the monthly average received is £197, but more than a quarter of these parents (28%) feel this amount is too little. Food is overwhelmingly the biggest cause of costs for parents in this position.

Notably, one in eight parents in these households (12%) have asked their children to start paying more and an additional third (35%) have considered increasing their children’s rent, but have yet to do so.

Two fifths of these parents (42%) also admit that the cost of living has caused conflict in their household with their children.

However, there is positive news in the living arrangement too. Two fifths (43%) of parents say the family is happy with the living arrangement and their child has no desire to move out. One parent in eight (12%) feels it would be ‘ideal’ if their child was never to leave home.

Children living with parents claim to pay more

Interestingly, when adult children are questioned about their contributions to parents, they claim to pay more than parents typically state – an average of £318 per month, with 72% of children saying they pay rent. Only 6% of children admit they don’t contribute in any way, with 22% stating they buy food or pay bills in lieu of rent.

Almost three fifths (57%) of regular rent payers also say they have started to contribute more, in response to the rising cost of living.

Financial considerations are given as the primary reason for children to remain with parents. Two fifths (40%) are trying to raise funds to buy their own home; 28% say they can’t afford rental prices in the area and 26% specifically cite the rising cost of living.

But like their parents, many in this generation see benefits too. Around a quarter (24%) state they are happy with their living arrangement (although this is notably lower than the view from parents).

Kelly Whittington, Aviva UK Property Claims Director, says: “The ‘boomerang children’ trend has been around for some time now, but our research suggests the UK could see a new spike. As people count the rising cost of living, young adults may be even more likely to return home to mum and dad.

“Financial factors are a key consideration, leading to people staying in the family home for longer – but it is reassuring that many parents and children are happy with the arrangement too.

“From an insurance perspective, if the number of people living at an address changes, customers should tell their home insurance provider, in case any policy changes are required. And if the arrangement becomes more long-term and residents decide to make structural changes to their homes - such as an extension or an additional bathroom - they should tell their insurer before work begins.”

Additional findings from the Aviva study include:

  • Parents most commonly feel that 25 is the ‘ideal’ age for children to leave their home (32% of parents with adult children).
  • This is echoed by adult children, with 25% saying that age 25 is the ideal age for a child to move out. However, adult children living at home expect their move to come slightly later – at 30 years on average.
  • 12% of parents feel it would be ideal for their children never to leave home, compared to just 3% of adult children who plan never to move out.
  • Three fifths of adult children who live with parents have moved out at least once, and then returned to live with parents (59%). A fifth of people in this group have done this on more than one occasion.
  • Two fifths of parents feel that adult children living with their parents is more common nowadays and there is no taboo associated with the arrangement – although only 25% of children say the same.

-ENDS-

Sources

1Based on calculations from ONS data suggesting there are 9.4 million UK adults aged 18-34 who do not live with parents. According to the Aviva study, 22% of adults in this group plan to move back to live with parents or are considering this as an option.

2Findings are from an Aviva study carried out by Censuswide Research in September 2022. In total 3,000 UK adults were surveyed including: 1,000 parents with adult children living at home and 500 parents with adult children living at a different address; and 1,000 adults who live with their parents and 500 adults who have parents who live at a different address. For the purposes of this study, adult “children” were classed as aged 18 or above. 

Media Enquiries

Sarah Poulter

UK External Communications

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