Attitudes vary between countries
Attitudes to living with family vary greatly between countries. ING’s International Survey (IIS) on Homes and Mortgages found 10% of European consumers on average had returned to the family home. Response rates varied from highs in Turkey (18%), Romania (15%), Italy (12%) and Spain (11%) to lower rates in Belgium, Austria and Germany (each at 1%) and the Netherlands (3%). Respondents from Australia and the United States recorded high home return rates at 14% and 13% respectively.
Although lower than the results from our online poll, the more comprehensive IIS still supports the idea that moving back with friends and family is not uncommon with a further 16% of European respondents saying they would consider such a move.
The boomerang generation
There is some evidence that returning to live with parents – sometimes called boomerang children after the native Australian device that returns after being thrown – is increasing. Bloomberg cites US Census Bureau data compiled by the University of Minnesota Population Centre highlighting that the number of 26-year-olds living with parents has jumped 46 percent since 2007. Similarly, figures from the UK show a 20% increase in the number of 20-34 year olds living with parents between 1997 and 2011.
Cultural and financial aspects may each be playing a role in the apparent increase in inter-generational living. Eurostat records significant differences between countries in family living arrangements while slow growth and high unemployment may be encouraging more people to return to the family home.
Look on the bright side
Although some may not consider returning ideal, it may make good financial sense and could be emotionally satisfying. Results from the US Pew Research Center showed that more than three-quarters of those surveyed who returned home seemed satisfied with their living arrangements and upbeat about their future finances. Research from Australia also suggested parents and children who moved back together tended to get on well with each other and parents recognised that the children’s return was “the most sensible option”.