Families Count 2024: new resource on family structure now available

Families Count 2024 is now available

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Families Count 2024

Vanier Institute’s new resource explores three decades of change, continuity, and complexity among families in Canada. Released during the International Year of the Family’s 30th anniversary, Families Count 2024 provides statistical portraits of families in Canada, highlights trends over time, and offers insights on what it all means for families and family life.

Chapter 7 – Young adults are more likely to live with parents

Young adults have become more likely to live with parents over the last 30 years. Census data show that, in 2021, nearly half (45.8%) of those aged 20 to 29 lived with at least one parent.1 Living with parents into young adulthood is done out of neccessity, out of preference, or both.2 In 1991, 32.1% of those in their twenties lived with parents.3 This includes both young adults who never left and those who returned home after living elsewhere.

As was the case 30 years ago, men were more likely than women in their twenties to live with parents in 2021 (49.4% vs. 42.0%, respectively).1 Men (64.6%) and women (59.3%) aged 20 to 24 were more likely to live with parents than those aged 25 to 29 (35.2% and 26.7%, respectively).

Across provinces and territories, the highest percentages of people in their twenties living with parents in 2021 were in Nunavut (54.7%) and Ontario (53.3%).1 These were the only provinces/territories above the national average. Living with parents was least commonly reported among those living in the Yukon (33.8%), Nova Scotia (36.4%), and Saskatchewan (36.9%).

Several factors contribute to these geographical differences. Housing often plays a role. The availability and adequacy of housing has been a long-standing issue in Nunavut, for example, where the highest percentage of young adults live with parents. In large urban centres like Vancouver and Toronto, the cost of renting or buying a home is a driving factor for young adults living with parents.

Compared with rural areas, large urban centres are also home to a greater proportion of immigrant families, who are more likely to live with parents.2 Data from the 2011 National Household Survey showed that immigrant young adults in their twenties were more likely than non-immigrants to live with their parents (50% vs. 42%).3

Why this matters

Living with a parent can be a valuable source of emotional, logistical, and financial support. This is especially true when pursuing education, after a relationship break-up or separation, when there are fewer job opportunities, or when there are economic disruptions. Living with parents can be a strategy for dealing with low employment earnings, job loss, or the high cost of living. Others may choose this living arrangement to provide or receive care across generations.

Indeed, the most recent data on the topic show that, in 2012, 9.0% of young adults aged 20 to 34 who were usually living with their parent(s) were the primary caregiver for one or both parents.4

Several factors may explain the increase in the number of young adults living with their parents, including the higher percentage of young people now pursuing postsecondary education, whose student debt often results in greater economic dependence. Living with a parent also does not come with the same stigma it used to in previous generations, which removes a social deterrent from choosing this living arrangement.

Sources: Milan, A. (2016, June 15). Diversity of young adults living with their parents. Insights on Canadian Society.3

Statistics Canada. (2022, July 13). Census family status and household living arrangements, presence of parent in household, age group and gender: Canada, provinces and territories, census metropolitan areas and census agglomerations.1


References
  1. Statistics Canada. (2022, July 13). Table 98-10-0137-01 Census family status and household living arrangements, presence of parent in household, age group and gender: Canada, provinces and territories, census metropolitan areas and census agglomerations. https://doi.org/10.25318/9810013701-eng ↩︎
  2. Statistics Canada. (2022, July 13). Home alone: More persons living solo than ever before, but roomies the fastest growing household type. The Daily.
    https://www150.statcan.gc.ca/n1/daily-quotidien/220713/dq220713a-eng.htm?indid=32985-4&indgeo=0 ↩︎
  3. Milan, A. (2016, June 15). Diversity of young adults living with their parents. Insights on Canadian Society. https://www150.statcan.gc.ca/n1/pub/75-006-x/2016001/article/14639-eng.htm ↩︎
  4. Statistics Canada. (2017, August 2). Young adults living with their parents in Canada in 2016. Census in Brief. https://www12.statcan.gc.ca/census-recensement/2016/as-sa/98-200-x/2016008/98-200-x2016008-eng.cfm ↩︎