Young Britons are putting off marriage and having children in historic numbers, according to the country’s official statistician, who released the data on Friday.
According to the Office of National Statistics, the number of people aged 18–21 living at home with their parents hit a record high of 4.9 million in 2021, up 14.7% from just ten years earlier (ONS).
The fastest growth was seen in people aged 25–29, but it was seen by all age groups.
In recent years, the number of independent Londoners living in their own homes has increased by more than 30 percent in several of the city’s districts. Because of the high cost of living and the lack of affordable housing alternatives, this area was hit the worst.
The ONS identified a tendency for young people to delay marriage and having children as a significant factor. The statistician cited the Chinese coronavirus pandemic as a possible contributor to the rise in 2021.
This trend has been going on for some time; in 2017, half of all young adults left home by age 23, compared to more than half of all those by age 21.
According to Steve Smallwood, the ONS’s demography issue lead, “we can see that there has been a huge increase in grown-up children living with their parents.” More than half of all young adults (those aged 19–23) currently reside with their parents.
According to the ONS, the percentage of unmarried and civil-union-free couples will increase from 20.6% in 2011 to 24.3% in 2021.
According to recent research by the Marriage Foundation, the welfare policies of the so-called Conservative administration have created a skewed incentive system in which single parents can benefit financially from having children.
Seven out of 10 first-time parents from “highly-paid” households (those who do not require welfare to get by) were married in 2021, while only one out of three couples with “lower incomes” were married, which perpetuates the cycle of poverty because children from single-parent homes face additional obstacles.
The government’s anti-family policies, such as a higher tax rate for single-income households compared to dual-income households, make it more challenging for mothers to remain at home and raise their children on a single income.
In 2021, more than 320,000 babies in England and Wales were born to single mothers, the first time since records began in 1845 that this was the case (51.3 percent).
At the same time, a record number of women are entering their 30s without having had any children.