Three quarters of UK population live with family beyond age 18

Article date: 22 August 2012

Aviva highlights importance of family protection for adult dependants

  • 73% of UK population - 36 million* - have lived with their family as adults Infographic of family finances in the UK
  • People save £225 per month by living with family
  • But family lodgers cost ‘hosts’ £107 per month

Intergenerational living could be set to become the norm, with three quarters of UK adults saying they’ve lived with another generation of their family beyond age 18.

Research from Aviva’s latest Family Finances Report PDF (2MB) shows that 73% of over-18s - amounting to around 36 million people* - have lived with extended family into adulthood, with the vast majority citing saving money as the reason.

Family lodgers reckon that they save an average of £225 per month by living with relatives. This rises to £311 for young childless couples, with a substantial 46% admitting they don’t pay any rent. However, host families estimate they spend an extra £107 per month housing their loved ones.

The research has been carried out by Aviva to highlight the importance of family protection at different life stages. As more adult children and elderly relatives depend on families to put a roof over their heads, so it becomes even more important that ‘host’ families protect their incomes.

The majority of shared living occurs when children remain in the family home during their late teens and 20s while looking for work. This accounts for 37% of family lodgers.

Other common types of inter-generational living include:

  • students who live at home during university (18%)
  • couples living with one set of parents (10%)
  • adult children living with their parents after a relationship break-down (7%)
  • couples living with their children and parents (4%) 
  • single parents living with their parents and their children (3%) and
  • older family members moving in with the family (3%).

Most families view intergenerational living as a temporary situation, for example, while they save for a place of their own or to provide emotional or financial support. The average duration of this living arrangement is typically up to a year, although 24% say they have lived with another generation for more than five years, and 8% for more than 10 years.

Louise Colley, head of protection sales and marketing for Aviva says: “Generally we think of children becoming independent when they reach 18, but it’s clear many are relying on their families both financially and practically into their 20s and 30s and beyond. There’s also evidence of older family members living with relatives for companionship and care, so dependencies can occur at almost any point in families’ lives.

“For this reason it’s more important than ever for families to consider how they can protect themselves and their loved ones against any financial shocks. By putting suitable protection in place - such as life insurance, income protection and critical illness cover - the whole family needn’t be vulnerable if a sudden loss of income should occur.”

Upsides, downsides
The vast majority of intergenerational dwellers (85%) have experienced some upsides of the living arrangement beyond pure financial benefits. Almost half (42%) said they enjoyed having someone around for company and 30% felt that they were ‘looked after’.

However, two-thirds of people said they had experienced some downsides. Four in 10 (40%) said they couldn’t be as independent as they’d like, while 27% had arguments over personal space.

Men – the more willing home-sharers?
Interestingly 24% of women said intergenerational living made them feel ‘like a child’ but only 10% of men found this. Similarly 14% of women living with other generations said people didn’t pull their weight in the household, compared to 10% of men. Women were also twice as likely as men to feel that others interfered with the running of their homes.

Download the Aviva Family Finances report - August 2012 PDF (2MB)

More about the research
*35,859,187: Based on 73% of 49,112,174 – the number of people aged 18 and above living in the UK according to the Office of National Statistics, mid population estimates 2010.

The Aviva Family Finances report is an in-depth study into the financial needs of the 84% of the UK population who live as part of a modern family. Based on customer profiles and Government data Aviva has recognised the six most common types of modern family as:

–    Living in a committed relationship with no plans to have children
–    Living in a committed relationship with plans to have children
–    Living in a committed relationship with one child
–    Living in a committed relationship with two or more children
–    Divorced/separated/widowed with one or more child
–    Single parent raising one or more child alone

Data was sourced from the Aviva Family Index which used findings from over 14,000 people who are members of one of the six groups of families identified above via OpinionMatters. This report is a definitive look at the personal finances of families in the UK. Not only does it look at personal wealth, income sources and expenditure patterns but also tracks how these change across the different types of family unit.

In addition to the regular data, in each edition a spotlight will be shone onto a different relevant topic. This issue has a focus on intergenerational living.

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If you are a journalist and would like further information, please contact:

Sarah Poulter : Aviva Press Office : 01904 452828 : 07800 691569 :

Lee Blackwell / Ben Marquand : The Wriglesworth Consultancy : 020 7427 1400 :
Notes to editors:

About Aviva

Aviva provides insurance, savings and investment products to 43 million customers worldwide.
We are the UK’s largest insurer with over 14 million customers and one of Europe’s leading providers of life and general insurance. We combine strong life insurance, general insurance and asset management businesses under one powerful brand. We are committed to serving our customers well in order to build a stronger, sustainable business, which makes a positive contribution to society, and for which our people are proud to work.
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