Headlines: November 14th, 2005

More than 858,000 adults aged between 35 and 64 now have one or both of their parents living with them, according to a study published today. The research by Economic Lifestyle, the retirement housing and finance company, shows parents are mobbing back to live with their children in a reverse of the tradition of “empty nesters” living on their own after the family has gone.The company has dubbed the phenomenon “3G” families, short for three generations living under the same roof. The report finds that the financial squeeze faced by the over-65s, many of whom are struggling to maintain their own home on low incomes is forcing more of them to live with their children. The report says rising council tax and heating bills as well as maintenance costs and the possibility of older people suffering from failing health all contribute to the pressure to move in with family members.

The figures show that four per cent of households with adults aged between 35 and 64 currently have their parents living with them. This is most likely to be the case in households in the North of England and London. In those areas the figures are eight per cent and seven per cent respectively. Families in the West Midlands and the South West of England are the least likely to be sharing with elderly parents with the research showing it happens in just two per cent and three per cent respectively of homes in those regions.

People aged from 35 to 44 are most likely to have their parents living with them. As the age of the homeowner rises the proportion of those living with their parents falls but the research shows 148,000 people from 55 to 64 have one or both parents living with them.

Mark Neal, managing director of Economic Lifestyle, said retired people were living on average incomes of around 11,000 pounds a year with one in five pensioners living below the poverty line. “Financially it makes sense for them to go back to live with their adult children who may be reasonably well-off and able to help them just as they were supported by their parents while they were growing up,” he said. He added that three generations under one roof could lead to tensions and families finding themselves forced by financial necessity to live together could look for affordable alternatives, with older people releasing some of the equity from their property.