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33% of Young Poles Aged 25-34 Still Live with Parents

REPORTS & ANALYSIS33% of Young Poles Aged 25-34 Still Live with Parents

1.7 million, or 33 percent, of young Poles are so-called “nestlings.” These are individuals aged 25 to 34 who still live with their parents, do not have children, a spouse, are not divorced, or widowed, explains Paweł Murawski, a consultant from the Central Statistical Office (GUS). This phenomenon is more prevalent among men and in less populated areas. In large cities and agglomerations, the percentage of nestlings is significantly lower.

In 2018, the Central Statistical Office (GUS) first examined this phenomenon, which is characteristic mainly of Southern Europe but also exists in Poland. Nestlings are defined as individuals aged 25-34 who still live with their parents and have not started their own families. Currently, GUS has published the results of the second edition of the study referring to the situation in 2022. According to the latest data, the percentage of nestlings in Poland has decreased compared to six years ago.

“One-third of individuals aged 25-34 are nestlings, which is 33 percent of this group. This is the second edition of the study, and in this edition, the number of nestlings has slightly decreased; previously, it was 36 percent,” Paweł Murawski told the Newseria Biznes news agency.

The definition of “nestling” is precisely specified. It does not include people who have children or returned to the family home after a divorce or due to widowhood. It also does not include individuals who emigrated to another city or abroad and for some reason returned to their parents.

“There are significantly more male nestlings. In the highest age category of 34 years, there are twice as many male nestlings as female,” explains the GUS consultant.

In 2022, the percentage of men among nestlings was 63 percent, while among women it was 37 percent. The Central Statistical Office also examined this phenomenon territorially. There are 659 municipalities in Poland where male nestlings constitute half of the male population in this age group, while for women, the rate exceeds 50 percent in only one municipality.

The highest percentage of nestlings was recorded in the Świętokrzyskie (41 percent), Podkarpackie, and Lubelskie (39 percent each) voivodeships. The lowest – not exceeding 30 percent – was found in the Mazowieckie, Pomorskie, and Dolnośląskie voivodeships. Over half of the nestlings lived in cities, but this phenomenon is notably smaller in large cities and agglomerations, where the number of nestlings is statistically the lowest.

“Nestlings mainly inhabit areas with low population density, rural areas. Regarding their economic activity, most of them work. This is a similar percentage to the general population. As for their education, among women, half of the nestlings have higher education, while among men, it is one-fourth,” enumerates Paweł Murawski.

The phenomenon of nestlings, although officially studied by GUS for six years, is not new in Polish society or in Europe. Looking at it from a broader European perspective, it is highly diversified across the continent. Simplifying, it is quite common in Southern Europe, and the further north on the continent, the lower the percentage of nestlings. Poland ranks roughly in the middle.

“In Italy or Spain, even half of the people are nestlings, while in Northern Europe, in Scandinavian countries, the culture of leaving the family home is different. There, individuals move out of their parents’ home at the age of 18-19 and live independently,” notes the GUS expert.

The reasons for this phenomenon are not uniform and may result from cultural factors as well as economic, social, or health reasons.

“Partly, it is surely because these individuals themselves are disabled and cannot leave the family home, or they have disabled parents and need to take care of them, but this is a small percentage,” observes Paweł Murawski. “Among nestlings, there are over twice as many disabled individuals compared to those who have already moved out of the family home. We also examined the disability of nestlings’ parents and found that there are more disabled parents among nestlings than among those who have already left the family home.”

The number of nestlings with disabilities at the end of 2022 was 102 thousand, which constituted 5.9 percent of the surveyed population. Additionally, one in five nestlings had a parent with a disability certificate. The disability more often concerned mothers than fathers or both parents. There were also cases (1.7 percent of nestlings) where both the parent and the nestling were disabled. The highest percentage of nestlings living with at least one disabled parent was recorded in the Lubuskie voivodeship (30 percent), and the lowest in Mazowieckie and Opolskie (14 percent each).

“The number of nestlings decreases very dynamically with age. At the age of 25, over half of the individuals are nestlings, and at the age of 34, only 20 percent, so these individuals do leave the family home, just a bit later. Women leave the family home much faster than men,” explains the GUS consultant. “The threshold for entering adulthood is certainly shifting, which is evident not only from our studies but also from data on the age of marriage, which is getting later each year. The reasons for this are diverse, primarily cultural changes and prolonged education – more people continue their studies at the higher or even doctoral level, which also determines that they leave the family home later.”

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