Young adults living with their parents in low to middle income families

This research, funded by the Standard Life Foundation, aims to investigate the current and future economic and financial challenges facing low-to-middle-income families where young adults live with their parents.

A growing proportion of young people in the UK are living with their parents well into early adulthood, whether they have remained in or returned to the family home. Influences include increased housing costs, the precarity of young adults’ labour market experience, and changing social norms. Over six in ten single 20-34 year olds without children now live with their parents – a total of 3.5 million people in the UK. These figures, from before the Coronavirus pandemic, are likely to have grown, given the disproportionately high impact it has had on the jobs and incomes of young adults.

This way of living has important consequences for the current living standards and future prospects of families on low to middle incomes, who have to adapt to a family life extending well beyond bringing up dependent children.  This project extends our previous research looking at the costs of living for households where young adults live with parents, to focus on the situations, needs and experiences of co-residence for low to middle income households which can be overlooked in policy, research and debate.

Three research phases

The research comprises a range of elements in three linked phases:

  • Phase 1 - analysis of existing survey data, a literature review and policy mapping.  This will provide a detailed profile of the extent and circumstances of households where young adults live with parents, bring together existing evidence on the influences and implications of co-residence and outline the financial and policy landscape they face in terms of the relationship between living arrangement and income including benefits.
  • Phase 2 - qualitative in-depth interviews with young adults (age 20-34) and with parents in low to middle income households. These will explore more systematically these families’ experiences and needs including influences behind their living arrangements, the financial and practical implications of living together, in current circumstances and for the future, and the impact of the Covid-19 crisis on people’s living situations, decisions and options.
  • Phase 3 – liaison with stakeholder organisations and focus groups with young adults and parents to develop policy and practice responses that could help to address the needs of families and potentially better support young adults and parents. 

Publications from this project

Hill, K., Webber, R. and Hirsch, D. (2021) Staying Home and Getting On: Tackling the challenges facing low to middle income families where young adults live with their parents. Edinburgh: abrdn Financial Fairness Trust.

Staying Home and Getting On - Findings Summary

Blog - Living with parents where there is no bank of mum and dad

Hill, K., Hirsch, D., Stone, J. and Webber, R. (2020) Home Truths: Young adults living with their parents in low to middle income familiesEdinburgh, Standard Life Foundation.

Information and Advice Needs Briefing

Policy Brief

Related publication

Hill, K. and Hirsch, D. (2019) ‌Family sharing – A minimum income standard for people in their 20s living with parents. Loughborough: Centre for Research in Social Policy.