YHK 12 1 Leaving home …or too attached?

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Looking after themselves The process of becoming an autonomous adult is not easy, especially for young people looking for a home of their own in a city where decent housing is unaffordable. Making the transition includes not only taking on financial responsibilities but also learning self-discipline and selfcontrol. Obviously, for the majority in Hong Kong, staying on with parents is easier. It saves money, relieves them of household chores and delays decision-making. But isn’t learning how to look after themselves a better idea? In Hong Kong, according to the latest by-census of 2016, 78% of all 18-35-year-olds who had never been married lived with their parents as did 95% of males and 94% of females aged 18-24.1 Compared with most places overseas, this figure is very high. Only Macedonia rivals it, with Europe’s highest at 75%.2 In fact, many young adults are becoming what’s known as “boomerang kids” if they return to their parents' homes after living independently while studying or working. They struggle to get by without the financial, physical, and emotional support of their parents.


Taking on the responsibility for leaving home does not rest solely on the younger generation. In a poll3 of nearly 900 American parents last year, 25% said they considered themselves to be the main barrier to their young children's independence. However, 60% said their children were not mature enough, didn’t know enough or didn’t have enough time to learn how to take on more responsibility, especially for tasks related to health care. The question of cultural attitudes is often raised where a very high percentage of young adults at home is concerned. Intergenerational households are the norm in many Asian cultures and in some European countries. Most parents in Asia are happy to live with their children for periods much longer than those in western countries. Traditional societies consider it to be a sign of respect and good fortune for junior and senior adult members of a family to live together. This mentality still persists in Hong Kong augmented by the persistent rise of property prices which has made the stay-at-home trend more prevalent and accepted.

by Calvin Chu flic.kr/p/k5TWm

March 2020 | Youth Hong Kong