“Youth head home” has been the headline of many news outlets in the past two years in Western Europe, with one newspaper even giving tips to alarmed Boomers on “How to Survive Grown-Up Kids moving back home.” While it’s true that the cost of living crisis and inflation has squeezed the budget of many European youngsters in the region, it doesn’t mean all of them suddenly became “Boomerang kids,” and ran back home to the family nest to live with mom and dad. So what do Gen Z and Millennials themselves have to say about it—is it true that they’re living at home to spend as they please on Gucci bags? It’s time for YPulse to bring our youth expertise into the conversation, by digging into the topic of how many young Europeans still live at home right now.
In our recent WE Finance / Spending Monitor Report, YPulse asked 13-39-year-olds in Western Europe what best describes their living situation, among a wide range of 14 options from “Living at home with my parents and not working,” to “Living with significant other and working.” We’ve compiled those options into three categories: living alone, living with others (friends, significant others, children), and living with parents. The summary of those three main categories below proves that we’re quite far from the gloomy news headlines about young people living with their parents forever:
Most young Europeans do not, in fact, live with their parents
Among all European Gen Z and Millennials, less than two in five live with their parents (38%). They’re more likely to be living with others (significant other, children, or friends), which is what nearly half of young people in Western Europe describe as their current living situation (47%), and a minority of young Europeans live on their own (15%). YPulse surveys young people from the age of 13 to 39, and according to our definition, Gen Z are 13 to 21 years old and Millennials 22 to 39 years old. Looking more specifically at each generation reveals a significant difference between the two, when it comes to living with their parents.
Most Gen Z live at home, but only one in five European Millennials live at home with their parents
Looking more closely at the data shows that the two gens don’t follow the same patterns when it comes to living at home with their parents. Nearly four in five European Gen Z live at home with their parents (77%), while only 20% of Millennials do so. In other words, the majority of under-21-year-olds still live at home, which makes sense—most young people of this age are either still in school, or studying at university. When it comes to the over-21-year-olds—the age range that typically makes the headlines for being a burden on their parents—it turns out the vast majority of them simply don’t live with mom and dad.
Right, now let’s turn to what young Europeans who live at home with their parents do in life, in order to better understand their context. In the wide range of options we’ve given young Europeans in our WE Finance / Spending Monitor survey, we made sure to incorporate an occupational element to the question to get the full picture. Here’s what the data shows:
Young Europeans living at home have good reasons to do so: they’re students
Breaking down how young Europeans live at home based on their occupation is crucial as it gives us a better understanding of what these young people do while living with their parents. The results are straightforward: among the category of 13–17-year-olds, 76% say they live at home and go to secondary school, and for the 18-24-year-olds, 23% of them live with their parents while attending university. When it comes to older European Millennials (25-39-year-olds), only 4% live with their parents and do not work, and 8% are working. In other words, it’s crucial to understand that almost all young Europeans living with their parents are either attending school / university, or financially responsible working individuals. Only a very small minority are living with their parents and not earning money.