Just Sociology

The Rise of Adult Children Living at Home: Understanding the Phenomenon

Over the past few decades, the makeup of modern families has experienced unprecedented changes, with increasing diversity in household structures. In particular, there has been a rise in the number of young adults living with their parents, which has led to the emergence of new terms such as NEET (Not in Education, Employment, or Training) and Boomerang Kids.

The trend can be attributed to multiple factors, ranging from structural changes in the economy to cultural shifts in attitudes towards family life. This article takes a closer look at this phenomenon and the reasons behind it.

Increasing Family Diversity

Adults living with parents

According to the National Statistics Office, over 3.5 million young adults aged 20-34 in the UK live with their parents. This is a significant increase from previous generations, and one of the highest figures in Europe.

The shift towards adult children living with their parents can be explained by numerous factors, including economic instability, precarious employment, and lack of affordable housing options. On a positive note, this trend has helped to maintain intergenerational support and social ties between parents and adult children.

However, it has also brought to the fore issues such as gender roles, conflicts between parents and children, and blurred boundaries between household members. For example, adult children may feel constrained by their parents’ rules and expectations, while parents may struggle to adjust to their children’s independence.

Different types of ‘adult-kids’

The reasons why adults live with their parents are diverse, and can be broadly categorized into three groups: NEETs, Boomerang Kids, and those living at home for lifestyle reasons. NEETs are typically young people who are not in education, employment or training, and they often rely on their parents’ financial support.

Boomerang Kids are graduates returning to the family home after living away for a while, while those living at home for lifestyle reasons may find it more practical or comfortable to live with their parents. NEET young adults are particularly vulnerable to economic instability, with many struggling to find work that pays well or offers job security.

This group often faces a range of challenges in transitioning to adulthood, including grappling with employment barriers, mental health issues, and social isolation. These factors can contribute to their living at home longer than expected, putting additional pressure on the household as a whole.

Reasons for Increased ‘Adult-kids’

Structural reasons

The rise in the number of adult children living with their parents can be linked to structural changes in the economy and labor market. One such factor is the expansion of higher education, which has led to more young people acquiring qualifications but also feeling the burden of student debt.

This often means they have to delay starting their career in order to pay off their loans, which can be a compelling reason for returning home. Furthermore, the cost of housing has risen, and it has become increasingly difficult for young adults to find affordable accommodation.

This is especially true for those living in cities, where rental prices may take up a significant proportion of their income. Consequently, moving back home may be the most practical option for some young adults.

Cultural reasons

Cultural factors, such as changes in family values and social norms, have also impacted this trend. Young adults today are marrying and having children later, and instead focusing on their educational and career goals.

This has led to a more extended period of independence, which may leave them less prepared for the responsibilities of adulthood. In addition, changes in family relationships, with greater emphasis on flexibility and individual autonomy, have led to more open-ended understandings of what constitutes a ‘normal’ family.

This has contributed to increased tolerance and acceptance of young adults living with their parents.


In conclusion, the phenomenon of increasing family diversity, reflected in the rising number of adult children living with their parents, is a complex issue with multiple causes, both economic and cultural. Understanding why this is happening, and the factors contributing to the trend, is an essential first step in addressing the challenges faced by individuals and families in this situation.

With rising costs of living and changes in social norms, it is very likely that this trend will continue in the years to come. Therefore, it is essential to study the phenomenon continually and engage in debates and discussions aimed at creating optimal policies that serve individuals, families, and the society at large.

Expanding on the topic of increasing family diversity, there is a growing concern and debate surrounding Not Quite Children – a term used to describe young adults who have graduated college or university but have yet to leave their childhood homes. The term Not Quite Children implies that these young adults are at an in-between stage, where they do not fully feel like adults but are also not children.

This article will explore different perspectives regarding Not Quite Children, including negative commentaries and positive research. Perspectives on ‘Not Quite Children’

Negative Commentary

Many people have criticized young adults that still live with their parents, arguing that it is indicative of laziness, immaturity, and an inability to take on adult responsibilities. These criticisms often lead to family tensions, parental pressure for the adult children to leave, and even feelings of shame and inadequacy on the part of the young adults.

There are concerns about delayed independence, where prolonged time spent living at home could compromise young adults ability to be self-sufficient and independent. This argument argues that if young adults are continually receiving financial or emotional support from their parents, they may miss out on the life skills that come with independence.

This could have negative consequences as they transition through the different stages of adult life, such as forming a romantic relationship, pursuing a career or buying their homes, and raising a family. Critics also argue that over-parenting by hovering mothers and fathers leads to young adults still living at home.

This is particularly evident with overinvolved parents who handle their childrens problems for them, taking away opportunities for learning and self-growth. Young adults with overly involved parents can easily become reliant on them for direction, often lacking the initiative or resilience to pursue their goals independently.

Positive Research

Despite this negative commentary, there is also some research that has shown that living with ones parents for prolonged periods during the transition stage to adulthood can offer some benefits to young adults. These benefits include necessary economic support, mentoring, and other advantages that can help secure a stable transition into adult life.

Living at home with parents can offer young adults financial and economic benefits that may be unavailable if they were to live independently. For example, young adults can save money on rent, bills, and household expenses, which could be needed to pay off student loans, build an emergency fund or make investments.

Access to parental support also enables young adults to have the opportunity to acquire the necessary credentials for their desired job roles, which they might not have the means to pay for independently. Furthermore, some research has also noted that living with parents provides a unique opportunity for mentoring.

Parents may have years of experience in navigating the challenges of adult life, and will know how best to guide their adult children. Through advice, mentorship, and guidance from parents, young adults are better equipped to face the challenges of adult life.

Moreover, living with parents helps promote a more level headed and realistic transition to adult life. Parents can support their children in a more gradual and manageable transition, allowing young adults to work out plans at their own pace.

This gradual transition can provide an opportunity to address aspirations realistically, enjoy more significant independence and a better understanding of life’s challenges.


In conclusion, there are various perspectives on the phenomenon of Not Quite Children. While comments from critics of young adults living at home with their parents are centered on concerns about delayed independence, inadequate life skills development, and over-parenting by hovering parents, research has shown some positive sides.

Young adults living at home with parents benefit from economic relief, access to necessary credentials, mentoring, and a better transition to adult life. Clearly, there are both positive and negative aspects to the trend of extended periods of adult children living at home with their parents.

However, it is important to acknowledge that the factors encouraging prolonged stays at home are diverse and nuanced. Ultimately, parents and young adults need to reflect on their aspirations as they work together to build an optimal environment for a successful and enjoyable transition to adult life.

In conclusion, the increasing diversity of families, including the trend of adult children living with their parents, is a complex and multifaceted issue. The reasons for this trend, from economic challenges to cultural changes, are numerous and varied.

While it is essential to acknowledge the negative aspects, such as delayed independence, it is also important to recognize the benefits and opportunities that prolonged stays at home can offer. Ultimately, families must work together to navigate these challenges and plan for successful transitions to adult life.


1. Why is there a rise in the number of adults living with their parents?

Factors such as economic instability, precarious employment, and lack of affordable housing options contribute towards the trend. 2.

What types of adult-children exist? NEETs, Boomerang Kids, and those living at home for lifestyle reasons.

3. What are the negative effects of ‘not quite children’?

Some critics suggest that prolonged living with parents leads to delayed independence, inadequate life skills development, and over-parenting. 4.

What are the advantages of young adults living at home? Benefits include economic relief, access to necessary credentials, mentoring opportunities, and a smoother transition to adult life.

5. How can young adults navigate living at home successfully?

By learning to communicate with their parents effectively, taking on responsibilities, setting goals, seeking out opportunities for growth, and working to become more self-sufficient.

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