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Living circumstances

The UK’s young people between the ages of 10 and 25 experience a range of different living circumstances and economic challenges, which are important for their health.

One in five secondary school aged children are eligible for free school meals

Up to age 18 the majority of young people in the UK are living with their families in stable housing, but this does not apply to everyone of this age and some are in different living situations with restricted access to resources. These social background factors are important in understanding their health outcomes and help us to plan the extra support some might need to thrive.



There are approximately 27 million households in the UK, of which over five million (a fifth) contain at least one person aged 10-19 (Office for National Statistics, 2021a). Chart 9.1 shows that in 2020 the majority (70.7%) of 10-19 year olds were living in couple families, with married, cohabiting or civil-partnered parents. Most of the remainder were with lone parents. However, 5% live in other situations.

The majority of 10-19 year olds live in married/civil partnered couple families

Increasing proportions of young people continue to live at home with their families into their early 20s. Chart 9.2 shows that the numbers of young people aged 18 to 30 living at home with their parents in the UK has increased over the last two decades. In 2020 the age by which 50% or more of the age group had left home was 24 years, compared to 21 years in 2010. Living with parents is now the most common living arrangement for young adults Overall, young men are more likely than young women still to be at home at any age. (Office for National Statistics, 2021b).

The percentage of young people living at home has increased in the last 10 years

A small proportion of young people establish their own family units before they are 25. The average age of moving in with a partner is between 26 and 27, and in 2017 the average age for women to have a child was 30 (Office for National Statistics, 2019). In 2019, of all babies born in England and Wales, 16% had mothers who were 24 or under (Office for National Statistics, 2020).

All data correct as of 1st November 2021