Live in your parents’ basement? Everybody’s doing it.
According to the Statistics Canada 2011 census results, 42.3 per cent of young adults between the age of 20 and 29 are living at home. And that number is as high as 59.3 per cent when looking specifically at young adults aged 20 to 24.
Although the number has remained virtually the same since 2006, the number was as low as 41.6 per cent in 1981.
In the past, living with your parents into your mid to late twenties may not have been the first choice for many students. However, according to Zenaida Ravanera, a research associate at the Population Studies Centre at Western, the recent trend suggests that living with your parents into your twenties may be becoming the norm.
“Perhaps it’s being viewed less negative now compared to 10 or 20 years ago,” she explained. “This has been happening for some time so it can be viewed less negatively now.”
Andrea Wishart, a third-year master’s of science candidate, currently lives at home with her parents. Although she is from London, Wishart moved out during her undergraduate degree in order to have the full university experience, but since beginning her master’s she has returned home.
“Grad school is a bit more like a job, and is often a lot more nine-to-five and beyond,” she wrote in an email. “The stipend really isn’t a lot to live on either—unless you have really good scholarships, you don’t really have a lot of money left over once you’re done paying for rent, food and a car if you own one.”
Money, it seems, is one of the main reasons why young adults are forced to delay their departure from the nest. Given the difficulty some students have finding employment after graduation, living on their own may not be financially wise.
“It’s kind of a strategy to deal with debt,” Ravanera said. “It’s additional time preparing for your own future.”
It’s a useful strategy for many students, including Wishart.
“Any extra money from not paying rent has gone towards paying off undergraduate debt, which will hopefully put me in a better place financially when I graduate with my master’s of science,” she said.
Statistics Canada also reported men are more likely to live at home than women. In 2011, 46.7 per cent of young adults living at home were men, while that number shrinks to 37.9 per cent for women. A reason for this could be that women typically marry younger than men.
“It’s always been that men live longer with their parents,” Ravanera said. “One way of leaving a parental home is when you form your own home. Men marry later than woman, so naturally they stay longer with their parents.”
Ravanera also added that although young adults may once again be living with their parents, the relationship does not have to be the same as when he or she was a teenager. Adjustments should be made on both ends—parents should realize their children may need more privacy, and the child, if possible, should help out with some costs.
“From the outside it looks like I’m a mooch getting waited on hand and foot by parents who never stopped taking care of me,” Wishart said. “It’s very different in reality—everyone’s family situation is different.”