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Study: Diversity of young adults living with their parents, 1981 to 2011

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Released: 2016-06-15

In 2011, 42% of young adults aged 20 to 29 lived with their parents, up from 27% in 1981.

The characteristics of young adults living with their parents are described in a new study, "Diversity of young adults living with their parents."

The proportion of young adults living with their parents not only varied by age and sex, but also across a range of socioeconomic and ethnocultural characteristics.

For example, the proportion of those living with their parents was typically higher among those who had immigrated to Canada at an early age, within some visible minority groups and among those who had a religious affiliation.

Young men more likely than young women to live with their parents

In 2011, 59% of young adults aged 20 to 24 lived with their parents, up from 42% in 1981.

Among those aged 25 to 29, one-quarter lived with their parents in 2011, compared with 11% in 1981.

Chart 1  Chart 1: Proportion of young adults aged 20 to 29 living with their parents, by age group
Proportion of young adults aged 20 to 29 living with their parents, by age group

In both age groups, parental co-residence was less prevalent among young women, likely because they tend to form unions at a younger age than men.

Among those aged 25 to 29, 20% of women lived with their parents, compared with 29% of men. Among those aged 20 to 24, the proportion of women living with their parents was 55%, while for men, it was 64%.

Parental co-residence more prevalent among immigrants who arrived in Canada as children

In 2011, close to two-thirds of immigrants aged 20 to 29 who arrived in Canada before the age of 15 were living with their parents. This compared with one-third for those who arrived as immigrants at age 15 or older.

Over one-half (52%) of young adults who belonged to a visible minority group lived with their parents. That proportion, though, was higher for some groups than others.

For example, living with parents was more common for some Asian youth, including West Asians (57%), Filipinos (55%), Koreans (55%) and South Asians (54%).

Among those who did not belong to a visible minority group, less than 40% lived with their parents.

Mother tongue and religious affiliation also associated with parental co-residence

In 2011, 48% of young adults aged 20 to 29 whose only mother tongue was not an official language lived with their parents, compared with 41% among those whose mother tongue was either English, French or both.

The proportion of those living with their parents was significantly higher among those whose mother tongue was Greek (72%) or Italian (68%). These groups, however, represented a small proportion of the overall population of young adults.

The proportion was also comparatively high among young adults whose mother tongue was Persian (57%) or Urdu (56%).

Young adults who had a religious affiliation were also more likely to live with their parents. In 2011, 48% of those who reported a Christian affiliation lived with their parents, as did 50% of those with a non-Christian affiliation.

By comparison, about 30% of those who did not have a religious affiliation lived with their parents.

One-quarter of young adults aged 20 to 29 who live with their parents work full year and full time

In 2011, more than half (52%) of young adults who lived with their parents had attended school in the nine months preceding the National Household Survey (NHS). This compared with 29% of young adults not living with their parents.

Chart 2  Chart 2: Work, school and financial activities of young adults aged 20 to 29, by living arrangement, 2011
Work, school and financial activities of young adults aged 20 to 29, by living arrangement, 2011

Most young adults living with their parents (67%) worked during the NHS reference week, compared with more than three-quarters of those who were not living with their parents.

In addition, about one-quarter of young adults who lived with their parents worked on a full-year and full-time basis.

About 9 in 10 young adults living with their parents reported not having any responsibility for household payments, including rent, mortgage, taxes, electricity or other services or utilities.

  Note to readers

This study uses data from the 2011 National Household Survey (NHS) for the population of young adults aged 20 to 29. A young adult living with his or her parents is defined as the son or daughter, aged 20 to 29, of the economic family reference person.

The 2011 NHS counted 4.3 million young adults aged 20 to 29, 1.8 million (42%) of whom lived with their parents. It was the most common form of living arrangement among young adults. Other living arrangements included the following: young adults who were in a couple (30%), who lived with non-relatives only, including a roommate (12%), who were alone (9%), who lived as a lone parent (2%) or who had other living arrangements (4%).


The article, "Diversity of young adults living with their parents" is now available in Insights on Canadian Society (Catalogue number75-006-X), from the Browse by key resource module of our website, under Publications.

Contact information

For more information, contact us (toll-free 1-800-263-1136; 514-283-8300;

To enquire about the concepts, methods or data quality of this release, contact Anne Milan (613-220-5440;

For more information on Insights on Canadian Society, contact Sébastien LaRochelle-Côté (613-951-0803;

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