Hotel Mama: Bad Economy Has Young Europeans at Home

Young Europeans in countries hit hardest by the Continent's economic crisis are finding it difficult to move out of their parents' home. Data shows that over 50 percent of those aged 25 to 34 in some countries have yet to move out.

Young people in Southern and Eastern Europe live at home longer. Zoom
DER SPIEGEL

Young people in Southern and Eastern Europe live at home longer.

Most young adults are eager to leave home to start independent lives. But in those European countries where the economic crisis has hit hardest -- particularly in southern and eastern EU member states -- that appears to be a difficult move to make.

In 2011, more that 50 percent of the 25- to 34-year-olds in Greece, Bulgaria, Slovakia and Malta still lived in their parents' homes, a SPIEGEL analysis of information from the European Commission statistics division Eurostat has revealed.

In Portugal, Italy, Hungary and Romania more than 40 percent of those in this age group remain in the nest (see graphic).

Nations with a high percentage of Catholics show a particularly high number of young adults who have yet to move out of their parents' home. This is also the case in Eastern Europe, where working conditions for entry-level workers are particularly precarious.

These numbers are in stark contrast to those in the EU's most northerly member nations, where less than 5 percent of 24- to 34-year-olds in Finland, Sweden and Denmark continue to enjoy the luxuries of Hotel Mama. In Germany, the level is 14.7 percent.

A similar phenomenon, dubbed the "boomerang generation," has been identified in the United States, which is suffering from a long recession. The Pew Research Center reports that some 29 percent of Americans in the same age have had to return to their parents' home in recent years. And some 78 percent of them say they are happy with their living arrangements.

SPIEGEL/kla

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