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Family Matters: Adults living with their parents

Released: 2019-02-15

Spotlight on families in Canada

Over the next few months, Statistics Canada will be releasing a "Family Matters" series based on data from the General Social Survey (GSS) on Family. These data build on the existing wealth of information on families in Canada, how they evolve as the population ages and as social, cultural and economic factors influence the structure of families across the country.

Recent information on families released by Statistics Canada forms the backdrop for the insights that will be presented in this series, and includes the video "2016 Census: The Canadian families of today and yesteryear;" the 2016 Census article on "Families, households and marital status," which shows that multi-generational families are the fastest growing type of household; the Women in Canada chapter "Families and living arrangements," which draws on multiple data sources to highlight the living arrangements of women and girls; the article "Emerging trends in living arrangements and conjugal unions for current and future seniors;" and the article "Living arrangements of children in Canada: A century of change."

The "Family Matters" series builds on these earlier releases by delving into some key trends and changes influencing family structures and living arrangements and by providing new information on topics such as grandparents, adults living with their parents, couples who live in separate homes, parental leave and people who live alone.

Data stories will be released throughout February and March in articles and infographics highlighting the diversity of families today.

Today's release is the second release in the "Family Matters" series.

Living arrangements of families have become increasingly complex and fluid. Circumstance, culture and choice all play a role in family formation and living arrangements, and the size and composition of a household may change over time as family members experience various life events and transitions.

New data from the 2017 GSS on Family examines the growing group of working-age adults who live with at least one of their parents.

The number of adults living with a parent has more than doubled

Close to 1.9 million people in Canada, or 9% of the adult population aged 25 to 64, lived with one or more of their parents in 2017. This was more than double the figure in 1995, when 900,000, or 5%, shared a residence with at least one parent.

Men, especially at younger ages, were more likely to live in the parental home in 2017. For example, 24% of young men aged 25 to 34 lived with a parent, compared with 19% of women in the same age group.

Students account for a significant share of adults living with a parent

While the reasons for living with one's parents may vary, one important reason is associated with pursuing a post-secondary education. Parents may be in a position to provide support for adult children facing high tuition and housing costs by giving them a place to live.

Among those aged 25 to 64, 12% of adults living with their parents attended school, versus 5% of those who did not live with their parents.

The majority of adults who live with a parent have paid employment

Almost three-quarters (74%) of adults aged 25 to 64 who lived with a parent in 2017 were employed in the week prior to their participation in the GSS on Family. This was lower than the proportion of adults in this age group who did not live with a parent (80%).

Adults aged 25 to 64 who lived with a parent were also less likely to have worked in full-time permanent jobs in the year prior to the survey compared with other adults. In 2017, 72% worked 41 to 52 weeks in the year prior to the survey, compared with 82% of those not living with a parent.

Employment characteristics may differ for those living with a parent because of the higher proportion of students among those who live with a parent, or for other reasons, such as providing care for family members, or having a health challenge or disability. Future analyses using GSS data could illuminate in more detail the factors which may influence adults to make the decision to live with their parents.

Most adults who live with a parent are single

In 2017, 70% of adults aged 25 to 64 who were living with at least one of their parents reported that they were single, that is, not currently married or in a common-law relationship, and that they had never been married. In comparison, among adults who did not live with their parents, 14% were single.

Among young people aged 25 to 34, those living at home (86%) were more than three times as likely to be single in 2017, compared with people in the same age group who did not live with a parent (26%).

Culture plays a role in the decision to live with parents

Understanding family types and cultures can help inform housing development, community planning and the development and administration of programs, including child, youth, seniors and health care programs.

Among Canada's visible minority groups, a relatively large share of South Asians (including East Indians, Pakistanis, and Sri Lankans) and Chinese lived with at least one parent as adults. In 2017, 21% of South Asians and 19% of Chinese aged 25 to 64 lived at home, compared with 9% of the total Canadian population aged 25 to 64. These groups may have cultures which value inter-generational living arrangements. The 2016 Census noted that multigenerational living arrangements were common among immigrant populations as well, and that multigenerational households may be on the rise because of the high cost of living in some regions of the country, including regions where immigrants are likely to settle.

Most adults who live with a parent have always lived with a parent

Over the course of their lives and the lives of their parents, people make choices not only about whether to move out of the parental home, but also about whether to move back or to welcome their parents into their own home.

The GSS found that most adults who lived with at least one parent in 2017 had never left the parental home. Specifically, three-quarters of 25- to 64-year-olds who were living with their parents, or 1.4 million people, had always resided with at least one parent. The remaining quarter, or 462,400 people, had lived separately from their parents at least once in the past.

This finding held true regardless of age group. Among those aged 55 to 64 who lived with a parent at the time of the survey, just over 60% said that they had always lived with at least one parent.

Products

The infographic "Family Matters: Under the same roof, living with my parents!" is now available.

Contact information

For more information, or to enquire about the concepts, methods or data quality of this release, contact us (toll-free 1-800-263-1136; 514-283-8300; STATCAN.infostats-infostats.STATCAN@canada.ca) or Media Relations (613-951-4636; STATCAN.mediahotline-ligneinfomedias.STATCAN@canada.ca).

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