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Rising property prices and the economic downturn have caused a sharp rise in the number of young adults living with their parents, official figures show.
More than three million men and women in their 20s and early 30s are now living at home – a 25 per cent rise since 1996.
The number of young people living with their parents has increased by 175,000, five per cent, in the last year alone, according to the Office for National Statistics.
The rise coincides with an increase in property prices, which has delayed many potential buyers from getting on to the housing ladder.
Overall 3.3 million, 26 per cent, of 20-34 year olds were living with their parents in 2013, compared to 2.7 million, 21 per cent, in 1996. However young men are significantly more likely than young women to remain with their parents, according to the figures.
One in three men aged between 20 and 34 lived with their parents in 2013, compared with one in five women.
An ONS study said the disparity between the sexes was partly down to a trend of young women moving into homes with older men.
For every 10 women, 17 men aged 20 to 34 lived with their parents in 2013. This substantial difference can be explained by looking at the living situations of young adults. In the 20 to 34 age group, over 600,000 more women than men were living as part of a couple in their own household.
The main reason for this is that on average, women form partnerships with men older than themselves.
Thus more women than men in this age group were married or cohabiting
The study, published on Tuesday, suggested women were also more likely to resist returning to their parents after a relationship ended, because they are “more likely then men to take the caring responsibilities for any children”.
The higher proportion of young men living at home was also partly due to the larger number of women who go to university, often moving away from their parents’ home to do so, the study said.
The percentage of those yet to leave home who are unemployed was 13 per cent - more than twice than the unemployment rate among those living away from their parents.
The lowest percentage, 22 per cent, of young adults living in their parents’ home was in London, partly due to the “large influx” of people in their 20s and early 30s coming to the capital from abroad.
A study published by Shelter, the housing charity, in 2012, estimated that 1.6 million people in their 20s and 30s were living with their parents specifically because they could not afford to rent or buy a property of their own.
However polling by YouGov found that while parents were happy to help their children, they were worried that the living arrangements were preventing them leading an independent life.
Fiona Wood, a partner in family law at Pannone solicitors, said that the the presence of adult children in parental homes had become a “relatively regular feature” in divorces.
It often crops up when the issue of selling the marital home is discussed. One parent, usually the mother, will object because an adult child is still living there with her.
Even though the courts will not usually take the needs of adult children into account - as they are not considered a relevant factor unlike minors, whose needs are considered a priority - if there are sufficient assets their parent’s needs can be interpreted more generously so as to include the fact that an adult child lives with them and they are subsidising their living costs.
David Orr, chief executive of the National Housing Federation, which represents non-profit housing associations, said:
Moving out and setting up a home of your own is a normal rite of passage. Yet these figures show that England is becoming a country where young adults are struggling to spread their wings and be independent
Unless we build more of the right homes at the right prices in the right areas, adult children will be stuck in their childhood bedrooms and parents will be unable to move on with their lives.