Nearly 3 million young people between the ages of 20 and 34 are living with their parents – a 20% increase since 1997. We hear from four of them
Abdulla Almamun: ‘It’s fundamental to look after one’s parents’
I am a professional who works as a fundraiser for a youth organisation. I have been living at the same address, in Tower Hamlets in London, since we arrived in the UK in 1988 with my family.
My three sisters are now happily married and live with their families across London. I live at home, as it is tradition in Asian families to have the eldest son live with his parents in order to look after and care for them. As a Muslim, I think it’s fundamental to look after one’s parents as they age and need growing attention. I strongly believe that it is the right thing to do, especially seeing the current state of care for the elderly in homes. I also believe that parents provide the wisdom, love and direction much needed in today’s society.
My dad is now retired – he had been working long, hard hours since the 1970s in factories, in the garment industry. He sacrificed everything for our education and well-being. On the other hand, our mum has been instrumental in bringing us up, taking us to school, feeding and clothing us (she still feeds us – and I love her cooking). I think it’s only fair and just that we look after them like they did for us; it will only be a fraction if any of the debt we owe them for their love, support and care.
Emily Webb: ‘Moving out is a dream for the distant future’
Three years away from home at university are a fantastic opportunity to develop academic and social skills, yet it often seems as though young people would have been better off avoiding further education altogether and heading directly into employment. Public perception now seems to suggest that those living at home are lazy, unaware of how to work for a living and take everything for granted.
As a recent graduate, it is clear to me that this is false. Graduates are forced to hunt high and low for entry-level positions that rarely become available. This, combined with extortionate travel and rental rates within Britain, has lead to a generation of young people destined to be tarnished with “Oh, so you’re still living with mum and dad?” brush.
When a landlord can charge up to £1,500 per month for a room in a shared house and still have demand outweigh supply, where is the incentive to develop affordable housing? The graduates of Britain deserve to be able to embrace their independence rather than be stifled back into childhood. The return to one’s parental home after graduating is a fate many young people across Britain have resigned themselves to. Moving out is now a dream for the distant future, rather than a reality.
Harriet Ennis: ‘We’re more like housemates than family’
I’m 26 and still live with my mum. I feel like I’m standing up in an AA meeting saying that, as if it had become a shameful admission. But I quite like it.
I’m a single female and my mum is widowed. I never went to university – couldn’t face the debt. That last bit’s important because I never had that push to get out, to move into a house with all bills included. If I had, it may well be that I’d find living at home now too restrictive. As it is, I don’t: we’re more like housemates than family. We get on well, but lead separate lives. We have less work because chores are split. Yes, one cooks for both (and it varies who) but we do our own laundry – a fairly harmonious arrangement.
The truth is, I can’t afford to move out even if I want to. I’ve been made redundant but even before things were very tight, if I’d been paying rent plus gas, electricity and other bills, I wouldn’t have had anything to eat. I pay mum rent, but it’s low enough that I have a life as well. I live in an inexpensive part of the country, but even then rents are too high for a single person to manage and I don’t want strangers for housemates. Most of my friends are settled down, so moving in with them is not an option.
So I carry on making the best of it and think myself lucky that I have a mum who is willing to put up with me and is so supportive. I think she’s is pretty rare, and special.
Emily Hewson: ‘I can feel quite restricted’
I’m a youth worker. Our sector has been badly hit by the cuts, and I’m currently in the process of developing a youth project because the town I grew up in lost a lot of its co-ordinated youth work. My paid work is about 14 hours a week (although I work more than this), and I’m also completing an MA. My salary is close to £8,000 a year.
It is stressful having such a low salary when everything is so costly. Many opportunities are lost simply due to financial issues. High prices in south Manchester makes it virtually impossible to live anywhere other than with my parents at the moment. I believe the work for this project is needed and, although I lack resources, I’m already in contact with a large group of young people. Unfortunately, projects take time to develop and money doesn’t come in straight away.
My parents see my moving back home as their bit towards the housing crisis, and think it’s more environmentally friendly to share housing, rather than have lots of people living alone. However, at 32, I can feel quite restricted with what I do. If I change my plans when I’m out, I’ll get three phone calls and a text asking where I am, even in the afternoon. Don’t get me wrong, we have a great relationship – but it can feel frustrating.
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