Irish people leaving home three years later than they did a decade ago

Irish people leaving home three years later than they did a decade ago

The average age young people leave their family home now stands at 27.9 years. Picture: iStock/PA

The age that young Irish people “fly the nest” has increased by almost three years in the past decade, with the average age they leave their family home now standing at 27.9 years, with men staying at home longer than women.

In 2021, the average age people left their parental home fell slightly from 28.1 in 2020, but it follows a steady increase in recent years.

In 2012, the average age people left home was 25.4. This had risen to 26.8 in 2019 and then rose sharply in 2020, possibly resulting from the impacts of the Covid-19 pandemic.

Coinciding with this rise has been a sharp increase in the cost of renting in Ireland. Between 2010 and 2022, the cost of renting rose 76.7%, which was over four times the EU average.

Fears over Generation Rent’s inability to buy a home have persisted throughout the last decade, with Irish house prices meeting the symbolic Celtic Tiger peak earlier this summer.

Men are staying at home almost a year longer than women, with males leaving their parental home at an average age of 28.3 compared to 27.3 years old for females.

In 2012, the gap was even more pronounced, with men remaining at home till the age of 26.4 years compared to 24.5 for women.

Irish people are just under a year and a half above the European average when it comes to leaving home, which stands at 26.5 years.

In Portugal, Croatia, Slovakia, Greece and Bulgaria, the average age people left home was 30 years or older.

This contrasted with Estonia, Denmark, Finland and Sweden where young people left at an average age of 23 or younger.

The lowest average age of young people leaving their parental household was recorded in Sweden (19.0 years) while the highest was found in Portugal (33.6 years).

In all EU countries, women leave home at a younger average age than men do.

In 11 countries, men left the home at an average age of over 30. But women remained at home until that age in just two countries.

Eurostat said there was a strong positive correlation between the average age of young people leaving their parents’ home and the size of the gender gap: 

“In the countries where the average age of young people leaving their parental household is higher, the gender gap is wider.” 

Ireland had one of the smallest gender gaps in the EU, along with Denmark and Sweden.

The long-term trend in Europe was for people to move out at an earlier age but this was somewhat bucked in 2020 and 2021.

Eurostat said: “Then, in 2020, the age of men leaving the parental home moved up by 0.3 years, the highest year-to-year increase since 2006.

“This important change between 2019 and 2020 was probably triggered by the Covid-19 pandemic, which might have led young people to reconsider moving out and remaining a bit longer at their parents' home.

"The average age of women leaving the parental household had its highest year-to-year increase from 2019 to 2020, of 0.3 years, most probably due to the Covid-19 pandemic."

Lastly, the statistics body pointed to a correlation between the age at which people leave home and the labour force participation rate, which is the proportion of people actively working or looking for work.

“Countries where young people leave the parental household at an older age are more likely to have a lower labour force participation rate for young people (aged 15-29),” it said.

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