Arrested Development? Record Number of Britons Still Living at Home with Parents

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A record number of British adults are still living at home with their parents as younger generations put off marriage and raising children, the country’s official statistician revealed on Friday.

According to the Office for National Statistics (ONS) there were some 4.9 million adults living in the same home as their parents in 2021, the highest figure on record and an increase of 14.7 per cent over just ten years ago.

The jump was recorded across the board, with all age groups seeing an increase, however the largest rise was seen among 25 to 29-year-olds.

London, where house prices are sky high and social housing in short supply, was the most impacted region, with many boroughs of the capital recording over 30 per cent increases in non-dependant adults living at home.

The ONS attributed the concerning rise in part to the fact that young adults are increasingly delaying major life milestones such as getting married and having children. The statistician also pointed to the Chinese coroanvirus crisis as a likely contributor to the rise in 2021.

However, this has been a longstanding trend, with 50 per cent of people in 2017 waiting until they were 23 to leave home, compared to over 50 per cent of 21-year-olds having already moved out two decades prior.

Steve Smallwood, demography topic lead at the ONS, said: “We can see that there has been a significant increase in grown-up children living with their parents, with over half of those aged 19 to 23 doing so.”

The ONS also found that those living together as a couple, but not in a marriage or civil partnernship, has increased from 20.6 per cent in 2011 to 24.3 per cent in 2021.

A recent report from the Marriage Foundation found that the welfare policies of the so-called Conservative government have created a perverse incentive structure in which it can be financially beneficial for parents at the lower end of the economic spectrum to remain unmarried after having children, as single people are prioritised for government handouts.

The foundation reported that while seven in ten new parents from ‘highly-paid’ families, who are not reliant on welfare to make ends meet, were married in 2021, just one-third of couples with ‘lower incomes’ are, perpetuating the cycle of poverty given the disadvantages for children growing up in single-parent households.

The anti-family policies of the government also extend to tax, with one-income households being taxed at a higher rate than those in which both parents are required to work — making it is more difficult for mothers to stay at home to raise their children in traditional single-breadwinner families.

The combination of such factors has resulted in the majority of babies (51.3 per cent) being born to unmarried women for the first time since records began in 1845, with over 320,000 born out of wedlock in England and Wales in 2021.

The age at which women are having children is also hitting record highs, with a majority of women remaining childless at the age of 30 for the first time.

Follow Kurt Zindulka on Twitter here @KurtZindulka


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