Unconventional Panel: How old is too old to live at home?

Our Unconventional Panel weighs in on the growing trend of young adults who are moving back in with their parents.

Young adults on both sides of the border more likely to live with parents than on own

Katelynn Langer, 25, moved back in with her mother, Marjorie, 50, last year but plans to strike out on her own as soon as she's paid off her student loans. (Katelynn Langer)

It appears the little bird doesn't want to leave the nest.

A growing number of young adults in both Canada and the U.S. are choosing to live with their parents rather than under their own roof.

According the latest census, 42 per cent of Canadians in their 20s still live with mom and dad.

Data from the Pew Research Centre in the U.S. shows 32 per cent of Americans between the ages of 18 and 34 are doing the same — well up from previous generations, but in line with what young people were doing before 1880.

This week's Unconventional Panel: George Brookman, CEO of West Canadian Industries (left), Calgary Herald writer Jennifer Alford, and engineer Ravin Moorthy. (Danielle Nerman/CBC)
  • How old is too old to be living at home with mom and dad? Leave your thoughts in the comments section.

This week's Unconventional Panel couldn't put a number on what's the right age to boot your kids out of the house.

But when Calgary Eyeopener host, David Gray, explored the issue further with them, they all agreed that most people don't want to live with their parents — they just can't afford not to.

Starving students

Calgary Herald columnist Jennifer Alford currently has two adult children living with her. She says that because both are still students, she feels it's her "duty" to give them a roof over their head while they're still being educated.

"They're my favourite humans, so I don't mind having them around," she said.

Alford says she keeps the fridge stocked, but doesn't cook their meals for them. 

"But then there's the helicopter-type [parents] who still want to do their laundry and make their lunches everyday when they're 25, 26. I'm like — no, no, no."  

House poor

Ravin Moorthy has lived with his parents as an adult, twice — once so he could save for a house, and then, to save money between moves.

"I think the problem is that in North American culture we have promoted [the idea] that everyone should own a home," said the Calgary engineer. 

"If more people could afford to be on their own, they would be."

The tight labour market doesn't help the situation either, said George Brookman, CEO of West Canadian Industries.

"It's a strange economy right now. You've got 26-, 27-year-old qualified people who literally can't find a job. And home is where they head to."

With files from the Calgary Eyeopener


To encourage thoughtful and respectful conversations, first and last names will appear with each submission to CBC/Radio-Canada's online communities (except in children and youth-oriented communities). Pseudonyms will no longer be permitted.

By submitting a comment, you accept that CBC has the right to reproduce and publish that comment in whole or in part, in any manner CBC chooses. Please note that CBC does not endorse the opinions expressed in comments. Comments on this story are moderated according to our Submission Guidelines. Comments are welcome while open. We reserve the right to close comments at any time.