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Tuesday 16 September 2014

Two-fifths of our 20-somethings can't afford to leave family home

Nick Bramhill

Published 30/03/2014 | 02:30

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Matthew McConaughey and Sarah Jessica Parker in Failure to Launch

MORE than two out of every five Irish 20-somethings are still living at home with their parents because they can't afford to move out.

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A comprehensive new social survey has revealed that more young adults than ever across Europe are stuck in the family home because of rising unemployment and increased levels of deprivation.

Researchers from EU agency Eurofound reported that the number of people aged 18-30 across 28 European countries who were forced to live with their folks had surged to 48 per cent, or 36.7 million, by 2011.

Although the proportion of Irish 'dependents' stands at 42 per cent and has actually seen a three per cent drop in numbers since 2007, experts believe the figure has been flattered by Ireland's soaring emigration figures – the highest in Europe.

Fr Sean Healy, of Social Justice Ireland, said: "A lot of young people have emigrated and so I've no doubt the figure for Ireland would be far higher, but for the huge numbers who've had no option but to move abroad.

"This phenomenon has come about due to a failure of the Government to tackle the real causes of the problem that caused the crash in 2008.

"The Government has focused on protecting the banks and bondholders, which led to the austerity measures we've had in place since 2008, and the consequence of this is that the poorest 10 per cent have taken the biggest hit, losing 18 per cent of their income.

"Because of the austerity programme, services have been eroded, charges have risen and more jobs have been lost than necessary. The Irish Government and the governments in Europe should have been protecting the jobs and the people."

He added: "The situation didn't improve in 2012 and 2013, so the numbers of young adults who are still at home could well be higher now.

"Far too little is being done to help them and it means that fewer young people than ever are able to live their lives with dignity. Just look at the numbers on social housing waiting lists. Back in 2007, the figure was 30,000. Now it's up to 100,000."

The report found that Germany, Denmark and the UK had the lowest levels of 'young dependents', with figures of 23 per cent, 23 per cent and 26 per cent respectively.

However, in Italy nearly four-fifths (79 per cent) of young adults were living with their parents, while in Malta the figure was 85 per cent.

Peter Matjasic, president of the European Youth Forum, said Europe's youth were still "in the full face of the storm" despite talk of a recovery.

He said: "This report makes worrying reading because it provides more evidence that, at the time that young people should be becoming autonomous adults making their own way in the world, they are forced to continue to live at home with their parents for much longer than before.

"This is now becoming the norm in many countries where it was not common practice before."

Sunday Independent

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