Belfast Telegraph

More young adults in Northern Ireland living with their parents than anywhere else in UK

BY JOANNE SWEENEY

More young adults in Northern Ireland aged from 20-34 are living with their parents than anywhere else in the UK.

While figures from the Office of National Statistics (ONS) show that a quarter of all young people were living with parents in 2013, this rose to 36% here.

London had the lowest incidence of adults in this age group with just 22% still living in the parental home.

Karen Gask, senior research officer at ONS, said: "I think one of the main reasons is housing affordability, and that's been cited by several academics who've looked into it. It's hard for young people to get on the housing ladder."

One explanation was Northern Ireland's small geographic size meant it was more feasible for young adults to travel to work or attend university from home.

The average age for first marriage in Northern Ireland is slightly lower than in England and Wales. This, the ONS said, indicated a more traditional model in the way families lived together.

Roisin Sweeney (29), from Banbridge, Co Down, said she never thought she would be still living at home at nearly 30.

"It's definitely not how I expected things to pan out, but many of my friends are in the same position," she said.

"Getting a mortgage seems nearly impossible for young people starting out at the minute, particularly for single people.

"Pay freezes, as well, seem to be playing a big part in this.

"It can be difficult living at home at this age as we all need our own space, but I think that with so many young people in the same boat it certainly seems more acceptable than it once was."

More than double the number of unemployed young people were living with their parents compared to living independently.

Ms Gask added: "The ratio of house prices paid by first-time buyers compared to their annual incomes had risen from 2.7 to 4.47 in the period from 1996 to 2013.

"There are wider implications for things like fertility rates, as people often look to move out of the parental home before having children."

The ONS survey showed that the trend for unemployed young adults living at home saw its greatest increase in the 20-24 age group. One in three young men lived at home, compared to one in five young women.

Throughout the UK some 65% of men and 52% of women aged 20 lived at home in 2013.

The figure decreases with age.

At 34, just 8% of men and 3% of women were living with parents.

FACTFILE

The Office for National Statistics (ONS) says more than 3.3 million adults between the ages of 20 and 34 – 26% of that age group – were living with parents in 2013. This number has increased by 669,000 people since 1996, despite the number of 20 to 34-year-olds in the UK remaining almost the same. The ONS also found one in three men live with their parents.

In comparison, only one in five women live with parents.

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