Moving out – when children become adults

Moving out – when children become adults

A significant event in young peoples’ lives is their moving out of the family home. As Figure 3 shows, the percentage of young people living “at home” declines sharply after children reach 17 years of age, such that 47% of 21 year olds are no longer living with their parents or parent, while only 11% of 29 year olds still live in the family home.

However while children increasingly live away from their parents and siblings as they grow, this does not mean the end of these relationships.

The childhood family into adulthood

Despite the changes that many of us go through in our own relationships as our lives evolve, the relationships with our own parents and siblings can remain a dependable source of love and support, just as parents themselves continue to value their relationships with their children after they have left the parental home.

In 2008, the Household, Income and Labour Dynamics in Australia (HILDA) study collected information about contact with siblings and parents.5

As shown in Figure 4:

  • Across all ages, those who have living parents very often have at least monthly contact with them, in person or by other means such as phone or email.
  • Regular face-to-face contact decreases over time, which probably reflects that parents and children do not live sufficiently close for regular visits.6

In addition to parents, over 90% of people have a living sibling, as shown in Figure 5. Sibling bonds tend to be strong. Even at ages 75 years and over, 43% of people are still in at least monthly contact with a sibling, including 20% who see their sibling at least once a month.

Figure 4: Our parents in our lives as we grow

Figure 4 as described in accompanying text.

Source: HILDA Wave 8, 2008

Figure 5: Our siblings in our lives as we grow

Figure 5 as described in accompanying text.

Source: HILDA Wave 8, 2008


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