Lockdown boomerang: 3.5 million grown up kids return to the family home

  • One in seven Brits (14%) say their living situation has changed since lockdown began, with 35% of grown up children having returned to their family home
  • Fuelled by COVID-19, the changes have cost parents £425 per month

Since the start of the year, 35% of grown up children have returned to the family home, research from Canada Life today reveals*. This is costing their parents dearly - typically increasing their monthly outgoings by £425**. 

Overall, the living situations of 7.2 million Brits have changed since January, of which 10% can be attributed directly to COVID-19. And while the majority (83%) are happy with their new circumstances, the outlook isn’t so positive for the 26% of parents who welcomed back their grown up children. Of this group, more than half (27%) would like their children to move out and a quarter (24%) are worried they might stay longer than anticipated.

Changes to work patterns (24%) and wanting to wait out lockdown together (22%) - or with a garden (19%) were among the biggest drivers for these changes. Only 26% said their change in living circumstances was already planned pre-COVID.

The financial implications

Parents who have welcomed back grown up children are spending £425 more on average per month, whereas those who have moved back in with their parents have typically reduced their monthly outgoings by £714. But, while only 23% of parents are asking their kids to contribute to household costs, grown up children appear to be paying their way, with more than three quarters (78%) contributing to rent (£264), food costs (£390) and monthly bills (£390). However, one in four (25%) parents are still worried about the financial implications of their children being at home.

In addition to these financial challenges, parents have made other sacrifices for their children this year; 31% have converted a room into a spare room for their child to stay in, 26% have bought new furniture, 18% even gave up their own bedroom and a further 12% gave up their home office.

Despite these challenges, lockdown seems to have divided opinion among parents who have welcomed their children back home, with 23% wanting to move closer, but the same number considering moving further afield.

Alice Watson, Head of Marketing, Insurance, Canada Life said: “For many, the events of the last few months have brought families back together again and challenged the multi-generational norms to which we’ve become accustomed. Lockdown has been a once-in-a-lifetime opportunity to live with family members again for some, but others are keen to return to normality. However, the reality is that we may see the impact of COVID-19 affecting our living situations for much longer than anticipated.

“While younger generations have had an opportunity to save money during lockdown, those parents welcoming back grown up children have been hit with financial pressures - including increased utility and food bills - which could have a knock-on effect on their retirement income. For those worried about the financial implications of lockdown, speaking with a financial adviser is a sensible first step. These professionals can highlight how property wealth could be used to meet the evolving needs of today’s retirees, and help customers find the best-suited product for their individual circumstances.”


*Opinium research of 2002 UK adults, conducted between 8th – 11th September

**Opinium research of 502 UK adults whose living situation has changed since the start of the year, conducted between 17-28th September