The meals are hot, the fridge is always full and the rent is free. So is it any surprise that more twenty- and thirtysomethings in Britain are living at home with their parents than at any time in the past 20 years?
The Office for National Statistics says many young adults in their mid-20s and early 30s, and especially men, are increasingly postponing the transition to adulthood.
One in three "adult-kids" who have not left the parental nest say they are still living at home because they cannot afford to get a toehold on the property ladder by buying or renting. But others, who have been dubbed kippers – kids in parents' pockets – are, say the demographers, staying through choice.
In the past, British children have tended to leave home earlier than their European cousins but the latest ONS figures, published today, show that 25% of men aged 25 to 29 now live with their parents. This is almost double the proportion of women in their late 20s (13%) who still live at home.
The official statistics also show that, for more than 10% of men who have reached their early 30s, home is still with the parents; this compares with 5% for women of a similar age.
The statisticians show also that among those who have left the family nest there has been a shift away from their moving in with a partner to living alone or sharing with others.
The demographers say the reasons behind the change vary according to social class, and that the last 20 years since 1988 have seen changes in the opportunities and constraints faced by young people in their transition to independent living.
On the one hand, the massive expansion in higher education has seen the number of undergraduate students triple since 1970, from 414,000 to 1.27 million. On the other hand, the collapse of the youth labour market during the 1980s has been followed by a continuation of high unemployment rates despite periods of relative economic...