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Generation boomerang

Nearly 1 in 10 Canadians have seen their living situation change due to COVID-19.


Fact checked

The COVID-19 pandemic has turned life upside down for countless Canadians. It has been so disruptive that millions have moved in with family to weather the storm. Finder’s survey of 1,199 Canadian adults reveals nearly 1 in 10, or 2.8 million people, have seen their living situation change as a result of COVID-19.

Return to the nest

The majority of Canadians are choosing to move in with their immediate families. The biggest migration is adult children moving back in with their parents. In fact, 5% of Canadians say they have moved back in with their parents due to COVID-19, and 3% of parents surveyed said their adult children had moved home with them.

This means about 1.5 million Canadians have said they have moved back in with their parents due to the COVID-19 crisis, and 860,917 parents have said their kids have moved back home.

And the number of Canadians living with their parents may jump to over 2 million, with a further 607,706 saying they’re considering moving home. Many Canadian parents are used to providing financial help to their grown children, whether for post-secondary education or a home down payment but it looks like that help may need to increase during this economic crisis.

One of the highlights from the research is that men are 21% more likely to move in with their parents. They’re also 141% more likely to be contemplating moving home.

Ontario is Canada’s hot spot for adult children moving back with their parents, where 10% of those surveyed either said they’d moved back in with their parents or had adult children move home.

Another interesting shift is parents moving in with their adult children, with 1%, or 278,532 Canadians, saying they’re now living with their kids. Another 2% of parents, or 455,780, are seriously considering it.

With millions of working parents at home trying to juggle work and childcare responsibilities, it’s not too much of a leap to assume many grandparents may be stepping in to help out.

Failure to Launch

Unlike the famous Matthew McConaughey rom-com about a 30-something man with the means to leave home but who chooses to stay because it makes for an easier lifestyle devoid of adult responsibility, Canada’s youngest generation may not even have that choice. Instead, many are likely returning home in droves out of necessity. Canada is experiencing an unprecedented recession, bringing with it massive economic uncertainty. And for this fledgling generation, their parents’ homes are attractive safety nets.

In fact, 13% of those aged 18 to 24 are already back living with their parents and another 3% are thinking of making the move. The percentage of people aged 25 to 34 moving back with parents is also high, with 6% returning to the nest.

This trend isn’t totally surprising considering many people in this generation are likely students. Others may be seeing their careers impeded from taking off or halted altogether because of the recession. Whatever the reason, millions of young Canadians are being put in a precarious economic position and may be unable to pay rent or other bills.

With record-high unemployment, people of all ages are looking to their families for financial support, with 3% of those aged 35 to 44 moving back with their parents, as are 4% of those between the ages of 45 and 54 and 2% of those aged 55 to 64.

Men more likely to move in with family

There is a gender divide among grown children moving home, with men far more likely to make the move. In fact, 8% of men are either back living with their parents or thinking about it, compared to just 5% of women.

When asked if a child had moved back in, the split was far more even, with 3% of men and 2% of women saying their kids are back home. Both men and women are moving in with their adult children at a rate of 1%. The only major difference is that men are far more likely to be thinking about it at 2% compared to 0% of women.

When looking at the big picture, men are more than 34% more likely to either have already changed their living situation due to COVID-19 or to be seriously considering it compared to women.

As it stands, 10% of men have already changed their living situation, with another 4% thinking about it. For women, 9% are now living in a changed living condition and about 2% are considering changing their living situation.

Regional breakdown

Ontarian adults are the most likely to be back living with their parents, with 6% having moved home. A further 4% say that one of their adult kids is now living back with them.

British Columbia is also in a state of household flux. In fact, 10% are experiencing a change in their living situation and another 5% are thinking about it. Quebec comes in third with 8% of their population changing living situations and, like B.C., another 5% are thinking about making a move.

Just 11% of those in the prairies are in a new living situation (8%) or thinking about it (3%) and just 5% of those in the Atlantic provinces are living in a changed living situation, with another 5% thinking about moving back with family. It’s unsurprising these provinces are experiencing less migration across families since these areas of Canada generally have lower costs of living and are not feeling the impacts COVID-19 as fully as some of the more densely populated provinces.

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