How do young people who share a roof with their parents go about their daily lives? How do they split the bills? Who does the cooking and chores? Is the relationship beneficial on both sides?
This type of household is on the rise in Canada — long before stories of “boomerang kids” returning with their parents during the pandemic began to surface. During the year, the proportion of young people aged 20 to 34 living with at least one parent increased from 30.6% to 35%.
In some urban centers, this percentage is even higher. Oshawa has the largest share, with about half of all young people living with at least one parent of hers. Toronto follows closely behind.
It’s also taller on the older segment of that bracket. 46% of 25-year-olds to her 34-year-olds live with their parents.
At the same time, the share of households with a partner or children is trending downward, falling from around 49% to 39% between 2001 and 2021.
look beyond the numbers
Pursuing a PhD in Sociology from the University of British Columbia, Umay Kader looks beyond the numbers to explore the real-life experience of living together under one roof in Metro Vancouver.
“We pretty much know the reasons behind it,” Kader said, adding that a tough labor market, rising housing costs, high debt and parents who need quicker and more daily help as they get older. pointed out.
There are also many young people living with their parents to save money while getting more education. Statistics Canada notes that the highest numbers of young adults and parent households are located near post-secondary institutions. Data also show that immigrant families are more likely to live in such arrangements.
But what we don’t know much about is what the arrangement actually looks like, says Kader.
Sociologists’ questions cover everything from conflict resolution and family decision-making to the inside and outside of shared spaces within the home.
There is only one houseguest. “If you could invite friends, lovers, sexual partners, etc. to your home, how would you tell your parents about it? What would be their reaction to the contact? What does it look like?”
Food is another. “Who eats what? Who doesn’t? Who has preferences? What happens when one of them becomes vegetarian or vegan? Or does he have health or dietary restrictions?”
One of the key pieces of advice for managing your home is open communication and setting boundaries, that you should live with your parents until adulthood, then marry and move to Surrey, British Columbia with your husband and in-laws. Zarya Khan, who moved in with me, says:
“They were very respectful of our boundaries,” Khan told Tyee last fall. “Knocking on the door all the time. We didn’t even have to discuss it. They just started doing it and I really appreciate it.”
Khan and her husband are in a separate basement suite with their dog, while their parents are upstairs.
“We were a little skeptical, but we did our best to decorate and make our home a home. We share many of the groceries we buy at Costco. It’s also a sustainable practice.” [avoid] Useless. I also have a dog, so it was nice to be able to go upstairs and hold it. “
This arrangement, along with previous family cohabitation, allowed the couple to save money to purchase a pre-sale townhouse.
fledgling social structure
However, if households do not have homes with separate suites, caders believe that living in townhouses or condominiums encourages family interaction, especially since kitchens, living rooms and washrooms may be shared. I am interested in how it is formed.
“How do they navigate private and communal living spaces?” she asks.
Before starting his investigation, Kader came across news articles, mostly from Western countries, that deemed the arrangement anomalous.
“We’re seeing young people portrayed as something bad for them to stay home,” Kader said. “I was watching a lot of news headlines [that asked] “When are these millennials moving out?” There are some pictures of parents looking angry or giving their children a critical eye. is happening, I’m not sure. “
There can be a lot of expectations about when to leave home, but it’s socially and culturally constructed, Kader adds.
“We want people to ‘achieve’ certain milestones in their lives when they reach certain stages,” she said. It puts a lot of pressure and expectations on me to be in a certain place at .I’m more interested in the experience during that life transition than the timing of the event.”
Kader’s study area, Metro Vancouver, saw a slight decrease in the proportion of young people living with their parents in 2021 when the pandemic hit. However, it is still higher than the Canadian average and has been on the rise over the past few years. Multi-generational households are more common in urban areas than across Canada, accounting for her 4.7% of all households.
“It’s a great place to explore experiences based not just on finances and housing, but on cultural and political contexts,” she said.
Metro Vancouver is notorious for its income lagging behind ever-increasing housing costs. By some indicators, Metro Vancouver is he one of the most affordable urban areas in the world.
Kader hopes her research will spur a more open dialogue between service agencies and policy makers in the public sphere about household financial arrangements.
“Family and family relationships are not easy,” she said. “There is no single guide to family relationships.”