A good education is no guarantee of happiness. Stock picture

London - For parents welcoming their offspring back to live at home after university, it’s a sobering thought.

Children who return to the family home are staying for an average of three years, a survey showed recently.

It found that an average grown-up son or daughter who returns to live in the family home at around the age of 23 does not leave until they are 26.

A quarter stay for five years, and one in 12 hang around for more than ten years.

The findings will come as a wake-up call to parents, who may think of the arrangement as nothing more than a stopgap measure to allow their children to find their feet in the real world – such as getting a job and finding suitable accommodation.

The reminder to parents that these “boomerang” children may be hard to get rid of was made in a report on family spending by the Aviva insurance group.

It suggested that a young man or woman who lives with their parents is likely to be almost £120 (about R1 400) a week better off than if they had their own accommodation, where they would have to shell out for a mortgage or rent, as well as bills and council tax.

But despite these home comforts, some children, and especially girls, chafe at the restrictions of living with the parents when they are adults.

Nearly a quarter of adult women who live in their parents’ home said they “feel like a child”.

Men, however, were more relaxed, with only one in ten saying they felt infantilised by sharing a house with the generation above.

The survey, carried out among more than 2,000 adults under 55 by Opinion Matters, follows evidence that large numbers of young people have opted to remain with their parents through their 20s and in many cases into their 30s.

“The main driver behind intergenerational living is money,” the report said.

“More than half – 57 percent – say they made this choice as they could not afford a home of their own, while a third said it allowed them to save for a home of their own.”

Earlier this summer the Government’s Office for National Statistics estimated the scale of the boomerang generation at three million young people – nearly two million men and over a million women.

Numbers have risen by a fifth since 1997, and around one in three men in their 20s is still living in the parental home, according to the ONS.

Aviva’s report showed that university leavers moving back in with their parents accounted for 16 percent of those living in households that contain more than one generation of adults. Another 37 percent of the transgeneration home-sharers are young people looking for jobs.

One in ten cross-generational families included grandparents sharing their child’s family home.

The report also warned that even after they finally leave home, some of the boomerang generation return a second time.

It said that 13 percent of cross-generational family members are people who have moved out once but bounced back again.

However, the second time around only a third stay at home for longer than a year.

Louise Colley of Aviva said: “Generally we think of children becoming independent when they reach 18, but it is clear many are relying on their families both financially and practically into their 20s and 30s and beyond.

“There is also evidence of older family members living with relatives for companionship and care, so dependencies can occur at almost any point in families’ lives.” - Daily Mail