Why do Men live at home longer?

People are living at home longer, says a new report. But men are 50% more likely than women to be living with mum and dad between the ages of 20 to 24 - why?


Home-cooked meals, clean clothes and a fully-stocked fridge.


It doesn't take a rocket scientist to work out the benefits for most people of living with their parents. There's even a term for those who do - Kippers (Kids In Parents' Pockets Eroding Retirement Savings).


More and more young adults are refusing to fly the nest, according to the latest Social Trends report from the Office for National Statistics (ONS). Home comforts aside, it's not hard to see another reason why - money.


According to the report first-time buyers faced a 204% hike in average house prices over the decade to 2005. Over the same period, their average incomes rose by just 92%.


 










THE ANSWER


Changing roles for the sexes and money



But while four in 10 women in England aged 20 to 24 still live with their parents, the figure rises to six in 10 when it comes to men.


Surely it can't all come down to money, can it? No, changing roles and new opportunities are really at the root of the issue, say experts.


Sexual stereotypes still exist and girls grow up being taught the skills for survival on their own from an early age, says agony aunt and relationship counsellor, Susan Quilliam. Things like cooking.


They are also socially more competent and tend to have more friends with whom they could share a flat. If they decide to go it alone, their larger network of chums also makes the move a lot less daunting. But another important factor is freedom.


Independence


"Women have much more of an identity around independence than men," says Ms Quilliam. "They actively seek a period of freedom, of not being in a family setting because of the responsibilities they are likely to have in later life. They want time on their own."


But the blurring of the traditional gender roles is also significant.


"Young adults have to learn the rules of the game, how to negotiate relationships and build their own worlds," says Frank Furedi, a sociologist and author of Paranoid Parenting.


 









Couple kissing
Attitudes to sex play a part



"Those rules used to be fairly straightforward but have become confused. This lack of clarity has had a greater impact on young men, they are more disorientated by the changes. The issue used to be about the independent young man going out and conquering the world, but that has now taken a bit of a battering.


"Young men are also a few years behind young women when it comes to things like sexual attitude and being open to new opportunities. On the whole women want to get out there and be independent at an earlier age."


That the experience of living at home can differ for men and women also plays a part. Young men get looked after while young women are often roped into helping look after the rest of the family, says clinical psychologist Dorothy Rowe.


Stigma


The trend of women leaving home at a younger age is nothing new, says Gill Jones, author of Leaving Home. But years ago it was to get married and nowadays it is more likely to be about continuing their education.


She says class also has something to do with it, with working-class men most likely to leave home the latest.


 










WHO, WHAT, WHY?

 

A regular feature in the BBC News Magazine - aiming to answer some of the questions behind the headlines


"The people who leave home last are, and have always been, working-class men," she says. "In the past people would leave the parental home and go into the marital home.


"That persists today more among young men of a working-class background. They go from being cared for by their mothers to being cared for by their wives."


But while men who still live at home do get a bad press, experts say the financial aspect of the situation means there is not so much of a stigma nowadays.


Young men no longer face being ridiculed as "mummy's boys" - well, not so much.