Coronavirus: One in five UK adults forced to move in with parents

Abigail Fenton
·Writer
·3-min read
About 3.5 million UK adults currently live with their parents. Photo: Wynand van Poortvliet/Unsplash
About 3.5 million UK adults currently live with their parents. Photo: Wynand van Poortvliet/Unsplash

One in five UK adults have been forced to move back into their parents’ home as a result of the coronavirus pandemic, research suggests.

Data from the National Office for Statistics (ONS) shows about 3.5 million UK adults currently live in their family homes.

Just over one in ten (11%) of these returned home to care for parents during the pandemic, while a further 9% did so because they had lost their job due to COVID-19, according to a survey by MoneySuperMarket.

Other popular reasons for adult children moving home include wider economic factors, such as the rising cost of living (44%) and concerns over the economy (33%).

Relationship breakups (24%) and saving for a house deposit (22%) were also among cited reasons.

The research also found the length of time children return home for has remained the same since the study was last conducted in 2019 – about 16 months.

READ MORE: Coronavirus – Students to lose £200 worth of home-cooked food

With reported savings of £684 ($885) per month, adult children are saving about £10,260 over the course of their stay – up £3,431 from £6829 in 2019, the research found.

Some of the top reasons for saving money are for a house deposit (56%), to build a rainy day fund (31%), to pay off debts (26%) and to save for a holiday or go travelling (21%).

The amount of rent adult children pay over this period is now just £187 – down £25 from £212 in 2019. Meanwhile, the number who do not offer to pay rent has remained at 47%.

Parents provide about £160 worth of services to adult children who live with them every month – £2,604 over their 16 month stay, the research found.

Over two thirds (67%) of children have their meals cooked for them, three fifths (60%) have their food shopping done for them, and almost as many (58%) have their laundry done for them.

Top 10 services provided by “hotel of mum and dad”

  1. Cooking meals (67%)

  2. Food shopping (60%)

  3. Laundry (58%)

  4. Washing bed sheets (54%)

  5. Washing up (53%)

  6. Ironing (39%)

  7. Free car lifts (39%)

  8. Free toiletries (33%)

  9. Setting the table for dinner (30%)

  10. Hoovering their bedroom (29%)

READ MORE: Grandparents save UK parents over £16bn a year, study finds

Returning children also have free access to services such as WiFi (66%), as well as Sky or other TV packages (44%), Netflix and other streaming services (39%), and music subscriptions, such as Spotify (15%).

What's more, to accommodate their children, parents spend about £1,706 making upgrades to their homes, with re-decorating a bedroom (17%), new furnishings (11%), upgrading the Wi-FI (8%) and bedroom conversions or extensions (8%) being the most most common changes.

However, this figure has dropped £180 from £1,886 last year, the data shows.

As a result, more than two in five or 44% of parents said they have had to cut back on holidays and treats for themselves.

Watch: Coronavirus: Boris Johnson reveals new COVID-19 rules on face masks, fines, pubs and working from home