We have examined the living arrangements of adults aged 18 and above who reside with their parents. In 2022, 13% of all people aged 18 and over were living with their parents in the country of Ireland. In some parts of the country the proportion is very low and in others much higher.
In this article, we bring together numerous pieces of spatial and demographic data to build up a full picture of the areas where many adults are living with their parents.
Using the data released by the Central Statistics Office* (CSO) we can compare adults who live at home with their peers who do not live at home, on a number of features: age group, sex and economic activity.
Younger adults are more likely to live with their parents in Ireland. The rate of adults living with their parents declines steadily with increasing age. Of adults living with their parents, 75% are under the age of 30 while for the 87% of adults who do not live with their parents, only 10% are less than 30 years old.
There is also a gender split, although it is less pronounced than the age split. 11% of women and 16% of men live with their parents in Ireland.
In terms of principal economic status, we compare adults aged 20 years old and over. In this cohort – representing 80% of those who live with their parents and 99% of those who do not – there are some interesting patterns.
Among those who live with their parents, about three fifths (61%) are in employment, one fifth (21%) are studying and the remainder are neither employed not students.
Of those who do not live with their parents, again three fifths (60%) are in employment, one fifth (19%) are retired and the remainder are neither employed nor retired. That is, we see a similar employment rate in both groups.
Looking at the data in a different way, the graph below shows the propostion of each economic group (aged 20 years and over) that live with their parents.
As part of the same data release, the CSO reported on adults living with their parents in 3,420 electoral divisions, allowing us to see how this group is distributed around Ireland. 99% of the country has low or moderate rates of adults living with their parents, but there is about 1% of the country where more than one adult in five lives with their parents.
This allows us to cross-reference with other data tables to build up a complete profile of the areas where many adults live with their parents and see how their demographic profile differs from the average.
In areas where many adults live with their parents in Ireland, there are fewer than average small homes with 1 to 4 rooms or less than three bedrooms and fewer than average large homes with 4 or more bedrooms or 7 or more rooms, as showed in the chart below.
When looking at the age of the houses, we can see there are fewer than the average proportion of homes built before 1945 and fewer than the average proportion built after 1990, while there are more than the average proportion built between 1946 and 1990.
We can also see that a larger proportion of houses are heated by gas, while fewer than average use oil or electricity for their central heating.
The vacancy rate is lower in areas where many adults live with their parents, which suggests that housing pressure is at least partly driving the phenomenon.
The type of occupancy also varies markedly between areas with high and low rate of adults living with their parents. 18% of households in high-ALP* areas are council housing, compared to 8% in low-ALP areas. On the other side, only 8% of households in high-ALP areas are privately rented, compared with 18% in low-ALP areas.
*“ALP” refers to a person aged 18 or over who lives with their parents.
*“High-ALP areas” refers to electoral divisions where more than 20% of people aged 18 and over live with their parents.
Looking at the occupants of these areas, we find, unsurprisingly, a higher–than–average proportion in the 18 to 24 age group and also in the 50 to 64 age group.
This tallies with the age profile of the Adults Living With Parents (ALPs) themselves; young adults living at home with parents who are in their fifties and sixties. Along with this there are slightly more than the average proportion of widowed people in high-ALP areas.
Residents of high-ALP areas are also slightly more likely than average to list their religion as Catholic and their birthplace as Ireland, and less likely to have moved house in the previous year.
Although the Adults Living with Parents (ALPs) themselves are as likely to be in employment as other adults, the areas with high rates of ALPs also have more than the average proportion of people who are unemployed, unable to work, or looking after home and family.
Interestingly they do not have higher rates of retired people, suggesting that dependency of aging parents is not a strong factor in the decision for an adult to live with their parents.
Looking just at those aged 15 and over who have finished their education, there is a very striking pattern. 54% of residents of high-ALP areas have up to FETAC level 5 (Leaving Certificate), compared to 41% of residents of low-ALP areas.
In contrast, only 22% of residents of high-ALP areas have a university undergraduate or postgraduate degree, compared to 34% of residents of low-ALP areas.
Note that this refers only to those who have completed their education, so third-level students living with their parents – which we know to be a substantial cohort – are not counted here.
In areas where many adults live with their parents, there are slightly more people employed in the agriculture, forestry and fishing industry and in the building & construction industry – 12% of workers in high-ALP areas vs. 9% of workers in low-ALP areas.
Nationally, almost one worker in three works from home at least part of the time. In high-ALP areas this figure drops to one in four. As well as lower rates of ever working from home, these areas have a smaller proportion who work mainly from home, 9% in high-ALP areas vs 11% in low-ALP areas.
When it comes to ways of commuting, those who do commute are less likely to walk or cycle (9% vs 12%) and more likely to take the bus (9% vs 6%). There is no difference at all when it comes to those who drive to work, which is interesting because there is quite a marked difference in car ownership rates. In low-ALP areas, about 10% of households have three or more cars. In high-ALP areas, this increases to 14%, but it seems that these extra cars aren’t being used for the commute.
*Data are taken from the Central Statistics Office data releases on the 2022 Census of Population. Only towns with populations of more than 1,000 people are included in this analysis.
@ 2023 Gamma.ie by Charlotte Cuffe
Gamma Location Labs is a cloud hosted spatial solutions provider that integrates software, data and services to help our clients reduce risk through location intelligence consultancy and software. Established in Dublin, Ireland in 1993, and with offices in Manchester, UK and Bilbao, Spain, the company has expanded to become a global provider of innovative, cloud-hosted location intelligence solutions.