The current economic situation means more young people are living at home for longer.
Many are unable to afford to buy or even rent their own place to live. But living at home can have its benefits – no bills to pay, no washing to do and food prepared for you – if your parents are generous!
Rob and Finn discuss the pros and cons of living at home and explain some related vocabulary.
What percentage of 20 to 34-year-olds were living at home with their parents in 2013, according to the UK’s Office for National Statistics?
Rob: Hello I’m Rob. Welcome to 6 Minute English. I’m joined today by Finn. Hi Finn.
Finn: Hi Rob.
Rob: Today we’re talking about a subject that many of us have experienced – it’s living at home, particularly when we’re grown up and in our twenties. Finn, what age were you when you left home?
Finn: I was 18 and I’d just finished school, I was really, really excited to see the world! So I left home quite young.
Rob: Well, I left home at the age of 18 too, to go to university, and I never looked back!
Finn: Of course, not everyone leaves home when they’re that young and we’ll be discussing the reasons why – and discovering why more young people in the UK are staying at the ‘hotel of mum and dad’.
Rob: Yes, we’ll explain some related vocabulary too but first I have a question for you Finn. According to the UK’s Office for National Statistics, in 2013, what percentage of 20 to 34 year-olds were living at home with their parents? Was it:
Finn: I’ll say 36%.
Rob: I’ll tell you the answer later. Back to our discussion about living at home. Residing with – or living with – your parents is not that unusual in some countries. Economic conditions, culture, or family tradition means that some young people stay at home until they get hitched – or get married.
Finn: Even then, it may be too expensive to rent or buy a house and the married couple continue to live at one of their parents’ homes. But living conditions can be a bit cramped.
Rob: But in the UK, it has been more common to leave home at a fairly young age and get your own place to live – maybe sharing it with other people – like a flatshare.
Finn: Many people may have to move to another city to take up a job – to get a job – or they may be going to university. But all this comes at a price – there are bills to pay, there’s food to buy, plus the cost of accommodation.
Rob: That’s why there has been an increase in young people living with their parents for longer. The recent economic downturn is the biggest factor. It’s harder for them to get on the property ladder – to buy a house. But what’s it like to be 27 and still living under the same roof as mum?
Finn: Luke Sibson knows. He’s 27 and still lives with his mum. What does he say is the biggest difficulty?
I had set plans to own a house, and a car and have a family by the time I’m 30. I’m now 27 and I’m not any closer to achieving that. There’s something very difficult about being a 27-year-old man living at home with your mum. There’s something very difficult about being an adult living in an environment where you’re still a child. It limits me socially; sometimes I feel it limits me professionally.
Finn: Oh dear, he had big plans for what he wanted by the time he was 30. But he’s still at home and finds it difficult being an adult in an environment – or a place where you live – where you’re a child.
Rob: So he feels like a child because he’s being looked after and doesn’t have much independence. This limits him in what he can do socially. I suppose he can’t bring lots of friends home or leave the house in a mess!
Finn: He thinks it also limits him professionally – so it can affect his career. I have to admit, living at home now would drive me mad.
Rob: Well not everyone has a choice and some might feel the benefits – the good things – are greater than the bad things. Alberto Baragan is 29 and lives near Madrid in Spain, a country where unemployment amongst the young is high. He says home living is not all bad. Can you hear what his reasons are?
Basically I don’t have to wash my clothes, I don’t have to make my bed, I don’t have to buy anything for me, ‘cos my mum does all these things for me. You don’t have to worry about paying taxes, or paying electricity, any bills; you are living basically for free.
Finn: He says you are ‘living for free’ – that is quite a big incentive. There’s nothing to buy, no bed to make, no washing to do. You need quite a generous and kind and generous mother or father to live like that!
Rob: Indeed. The type of parents you have may influence your decision to stay at home too! Alberto also mentioned there were no taxes or bills to pay, which is great if you’re not earning any money.
Finn: Yes and this is of course the reality for many young people in Spain. But if you have no choice about living at home, hopefully you at least have a good relationship with your parents. This means accepting their virtues – their good points – and their faults.
Rob: Yes, after all, it is their home!
Finn: Spoken like a true parent Rob!
Rob: Behave Finn, and let’s see if you answered today’s question correctly. I asked you according to the UK’s Office for National Statistics, in 2013, what percentage of 20 to 34 year-olds were living at home with their parents? Was it:
Finn: I said 36%.
Rob: You’re wrong. The answer is 26%. That’s 3.3 million adults. That’s an increase of about 25% since 1996. Well that’s it for this programme. Please join us again soon for 6 Minute English from BBC Learning English.
Vocabulary and definitions
residing with: living with
get hitched: (informal) get married
cramped: small and crowded
accommodation: a place to live in
the property ladder: the series of stages in owning a house or flat, starting with a small place and buying bigger and more expensive homes as you can afford more
environment: (here) the place and the conditions in which someone lives
benefits: positive things you get from a situation
incentive: something that encourages you to do something
virtues: good qualities in a person
faults: bad qualities in a person
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