Not Quite Adults – Why are more 20-30 somethings living with their parents?

Firstly a Video version of some of the material discussed below:


For more detailed analysis of the issue under consideration, please read below!

1. Not quite adults – Vital Statistics  

According to the Office for National Statistics, in 2011, nearly 3.0 million adults aged between 20 and 34 were living with a parent or parents, an increase of almost half a million, or 20 per cent, since 1997. This is despite the number of people in the population aged 20 to 34 being largely the same in 1997 and 2011. This means that nearly 1/3 men and 1/7 women in the UK now live with their parents.

If you look at just 30 somethings, however, then the numbers drop to just 5% of women and 10% of men living with their parents

However – Not all ‘Kippers*’ are the same! (*Kids living in their parents’ pockets)

It is important to keep in mind that not all ‘adult kids’ are the same; experiences of living at home with your parents into your 30s will vary.

For example, the experience of being a NEET and living at home with your parents may well be different to being one of the ‘Boomerang Kids’ – who move out to go to university but then move back in with their parents afterwards

Some adult kids would have lived at home continuously, but many would have moved out for a period with a partner, and then moved back in again.

Adult-Kids will also vary as to the extent to which they are forced into living with their parents due to financial reasons, or choose to do so for ‘lifestyle reasons’.

Experiences will also differ depending on parental attitudes to having their adult children living with them.

2. Why are increasing numbers of ‘adult children’ living with their parents?

Many commentators stress that young adults have no choice but to live with their parents, focusing on structural (mainly economic) reasons that force people to live with their parents.

The following structural changes mean it is harder for young people to transition to independent living.

  1. The massive expansion in higher education has seen the number of undergraduate students triple since 1970, from 414,000 to 1.27 million – this means more young adults are not in work and economically dependent on their parents for longer.
  2. The recent recession has been accompanied by a sharp increase in unemployment rates among young adults,” This means that recent graduates, especially men, are increasingly returning to live with their parents after graduating.  Their numbers are being swelled by the increasing levels of student debt they have accumulated by the time they finish their studies.
  3. Then there are changes in the housing market. Even those in work cannot afford to move out of the family home as first-time buyers now face house prices that are, on average, five times average incomes, compared with a multiple of three times 20 years ago.

However, there are also cultural changes which mean young adults are more likely to choose to live with their parents even when they could move out.

  1. There is more uncertainty about what a ‘normal relationship’ is. Changing roles of men and women and changing expectations of relationships and family life result in young people being more reluctant to settle down in a classic long term relationship.
  2. The meaning of ‘being 20 something is different today to what it was in the 1970s. Today, we simply want to ‘settle down’ later in life – 20s have become about ‘pulling and dating’, ‘30s about serious long term relationships, and late 30s about children. Of those 20 somethings who do flee the parental nest, they are increasingly likely to either live alone or share with friends. The number of young couple households has been decreasing in recent years.
  3. The increasing number of ‘kippers’ might also be linked to the increasing instability of relationships. There are plenty of late 20s and 30 somethings who have previously moved in with a partner for a few years, suffered a relationship breakdown, ended up back with their parents and are now reluctant to recommit!

See this Guardian post for further info


3. Perspectives on the ‘not quite children’

Most of the commentary on this social trend seems to be negative – focussing on such things as:

Some research, however, suggests that adults living at home with their parents can be a positive thingAs this research, based on 500 ‘adult-kids’ in the USA suggests

‘Few 20-somethings who live at home are mooching off their parents. More often, they are using the time at home to gain necessary credentials and save money for a more secure future.

Helicopter parents aren’t so bad after all. Involved parents provide young people with advantages, including mentoring and economic support, that have become increasingly necessary to success.’

Find out More

For More posts on families and households please click here

For a more extended discussion of trends which lie behind increasing family diversity please click here

Nice blog post on ‘how returning to live with our parents in our 30s benefited both sides’

BBC News – 1.6 Million people aged 20-40 live with their parents

Barbara Ellen of the Guardian really doesn’t approve – NB most of the commentators don’t approve of her views either!

Studying Sociology at University

Been a while since I posted so I thought I’d post up this document

Studying Sociology at University

What do you study at University? 

Sociology at university is very different to ‘A level’ Sociology. There is some overlap in terms of basic content but this is minor. As a general rule, most Sociology departments will offer the ‘core modules’ in Sociological Theory, Sociological Methods, Modernity and Post-Modernity, and Globalisation, but besides these, courses will vary depending on the particular specialisms of lecturers in each department. Besides the above, some of the other topics you could end up studying include –

  • Ethnicity, race and racism
  • Gender
  • Marriage, family and interpersonal relationships
  • Media
  • Migration and citizenship
  • Globalisation
  • Friendship
  • Popular culture
  • Political participation
  • Religion
  • The Environment


In addition, many departments will offer degrees in related subjects such as:

  • Social Policy
  • Social Work
  • Criminology
  • Anthropology

Where to study

A good website for more information about studying Sociology at University is the British Sociological Association. This has a leaflet you can download and a hub page that contains links to most of the 80 odd universities that offer Sociology and related subjects.

To be blunt, for pretty much any Humanities or Social Science degree you need to be looking at the top 20 universities or you will probably end up unemployed afterwards.

League Tables – Top 20

CUG Rank

University Name

Student Satisfaction

Student Satisfaction
A guide to how satisfied students are with the quality of teaching they receive.

Click here to read more

Entry Standards*

Entry Standards
The average UCAS tariff score of new students under 21 years of age entering the University.

Click here to read more

Research Assessment

Research Assessment
The average quality of the research undertaken in the University.

Click here to read more

Graduate Prospects

Graduate Prospects
A guide to the employability of graduates on completion of their courses at the University.

Click here to read more

Overall Score

Overall Score
The total score calculated by our independent and trusted methodology.

Click here to read more



1 1 Cambridge 4.3   560   2.65   78.0   100.0
2 5 Bath 4.1   383   3.10   68.0   93.9
3 3 Durham 4.1   408   2.65   70.0   93.3
4 2 London School of Economics 3.9   415   2.40   78.0   93.3
5 6 Surrey 4.1   374   2.75   72.0   93.1
6 4 Warwick 4.0   420   2.70   62.0   92.2
7 31 Glasgow 4.1   425   2.25   60.0   90.8
8 14 Exeter 4.1   407   2.70   52.0   90.5
9 16 Bristol 4.1   410   2.40   56.0   90.2
10 13 Sheffield 4.0   367   2.80   56.0   89.8
11 7 Lancaster 4.0   359   2.80   56.0   89.7
12 20 Leeds 4.0   359   2.95   52.0   89.4
13 10 Sussex 4.0   373   2.55   58.0   89.4
14 11 York 4.0   372   2.85   48.0   88.9
15 21 Keele 4.0   323   2.75   58.0   88.9
16 28 Nottingham 4.0   354   2.50   58.0   88.9
17 33 Aberdeen 4.1   372   2.60   50.0   88.8
18 29 Manchester 3.9   384   2.85   48.0   88.7
19 8 Edinburgh 3.7   413   2.75   48.0   88.6
20 18 Kent 3.9   301   2.95   58.0   88.6

And the bottom 7**

84 84 Northampton 4.1   251       30.0   77.3
85 82 Liverpool John Moores 3.8   279       30.0   77.1
86 72 Glamorgan 3.9   259       32.0   77.1
87 80 Buckinghamshire New 3.8   226           77.0
88 83 Bradford 4.1   199       36.0   76.9
89 79 Anglia Ruskin 4.2   225       28.0   76.5


*Average UCAS points – one A grade = 120 points, so 3 As = 360

**These don’t do research, hence there’s no research score!


Career ‘Prospects’ – Sociology

A range of different types of employers are likely to recruit sociology graduates. Typical employers include: local and central government; industry; commerce; the NHS; education authorities; further and higher education institutions; and charitable, counselling and voluntary organisations.

Jobs directly related to Sociology

  • Social researcher
  • Counsellor
  • Community development worker
  • Advice worker
  • Further education lecturer

Jobs where a sociology degree would be useful

  • Probation officer
  • Social worker
  • Charity fundraiser
  • Housing manager/officer
  • Primary school teacher or Secondary school teacher

A 2010 HESA survey of 2009 graduates indicates that six months after graduation, 60% of sociology graduates were in employment in the UK or overseas with a further 8% combining work and further study. Of those entering employment, graduates entered a wide variety of jobs.

  • 15% went into social and welfare professions
  • 8% went into public and private sector management.
  • 20% entered occupations not categorised, which could include those working in not-for-profit organisations, project-based work.
  • 14% went into clerical and secretarial positions
  • 24% went into retail, catering and bar work

So to put it bluntly, of those students who graduated with a Sociology degree in 2009 2/3rds of them had a job 6 months later and about 1/3rd of those had a ‘real’ (professional) job that actually requires a degree. Overall this means that 1/3rd of Sociology graduates end up with a ‘proper job’ 6 months after graduating.

Of course, 3 years on, you now have less chance of getting a job and will be £30 000 in debt by the time you graduate too.