The number of adult children living with their parents has almost doubled over the last decade to nearly 500,000,writes Joyce Fegan.
The latest statistics to be released from Census 2016, which examine the living arrangements of the Irish population, show that 458,874 adults aged 18 and over live in the family home.
In the 2006 Census, the last before the economic crash, there were 280,065 “children in their 20s living with their parents”.
The situation has been described by politicians as an “accommodation time bomb” and social campaigners said the figures reflect the effects of young people being unable to afford to rent or get mortgages, which in turn is creating increased family pressures.
A spokeswoman for Seniorline, a confidential listening service for older people, told the Irish Examiner that reports of elder abuse have risen considerably since the recession, with more and more adult children returning home.
“Our elder abuse figures rose in the downturn as older sons and daughters returned home as a result of financial pressures.
“There was an increase in calls in relation to psychological, financial and physical abuse,” the Seniorline spokeswoman said.
“In terms of changing family dynamics, grandparents are often minding grandchildren because the parents can’t afford childcare.
“You have families at a later stage, who are under financial pressures, moving back in with parents. Relationships become strained under this pressure,” she added.
Census 2016 found that a total of 58.6% of adult children living at home were male, 215,088 of the adult children were at work, while 66,516 were unemployed and 152,269 were students.
The figure of 458,874 is an increase of 4.4% (19,396 people) on Census 2011.
On an urban-rural divide, 41.2% of this group lived in rural areas, compared with the 37.3% of the general population. Among those aged 30-49 there were more than twice as many men as women still living with a parent (67,594 compared with 32,037).
Green Party leader Eamon Ryan said the figures were indicative of an “accommodation time bomb”.
“The crisis in housing supply is laid bare by these latest Census figures. Almost half a million young people over the age of 18 are still living at home with their parents.
“Of that number, 180,703 were at work. Due to spiralling rents and soaring house prices, moving out of home is simply out of reach for many young people.
“While living at home with parents is fine in the short term, the Government will be facing an even worse crisis if and when these young people decide to move out,” he said.
Labour spokesman for urban regeneration Joe Costello said the figures were “staggering” and made for “stark” reading.
“The quality of life for young adult working males, in particular, has deteriorated sharply in recent years.
“The shortage of affordable housing and the prevalence of low-paid employment is playing havoc with young people’s lives.
“And what is the Government’s response?” Mr Costello stated.
“Last night on the Vincent Browne programme on TV3, the new Taoiseach, Leo Varadkar, admitted that his Government would meet none of its targets on housing and homelessness during its lifetime,” Mr Costello said.
Housing campaigners, the Peter McVerry Trust, said the figures reflected trends they are seeing.
“We are increasingly seeing people losing their accommodation and returning to the family home. These are people in good jobs and on middle incomes.
“It has been particularly prevalent this year. People have been forced to move back in with family as a result,” said a spokesman for the trust.
“It’s an anomaly in the system,” he added.
This story first appeared in the Irish Examiner