The Independent reported today that the number of young adults in Britain aged 20 to 34 living with their parents is now 38%. [1] Young people on the continent are fairing even worse. In Spain, 55% of those aged 25 to 29 live with their parents. In Italy, 60% of 18 to 34 year olds are doing the same. In America, the rates are only slightly better. 36% of 18 to 31 year olds live at home. Of that group, 50% are not in the labor force. [2]

36% is the highest rate in at least 40 years, and represents a growth on the 34% that were living at home after the supposed end of the recession in 2009.

How could this be a positive shift? For most of human history families have lived in multi-generational households. Age segregation is a very recent phenomenon, perhaps a return to more customary family arrangements could lead to a strengthening of the traditional values that have been so rapidly discarded in recent decades.

Perhaps the well publicized collapse of the family unit will be stalled by the economic necessity of families having to work together to financially survive.

In the book of Genesis, Abraham, Isaac, Jacob, and the 12 sons all live at various times together in one household. Only at the age of 40 did Abraham tell his servant to find Isaac a wife, implying that even as a grown man Isaac was still very much Abraham's son.

Although the economic decline of America is unfortunate in many ways, perhaps it signals a return to organic and realistic living. Young adults could benefit from the value systems of older generations, and older folks might benefit from the company and social interactions that young people could bring to their lives.


[1] Dugan, Emily. 'The Boomerang Generation: forced back to the nest by lack of jobs and high cost of living.' The Independent. January, 2014.

[2] Fry, Richard. A Rising Share of Young Adults Live in Their Parent's Home.' Pew Research: Social & Demographic Trends. August 2013.