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Italian adults reluctant to fly the nest

Half of under-40s still living with parents, study says

29 December, 14:29
Italian adults reluctant to fly the nest

(ANSA) - Rome, December 28 - Italian offspring are as reluctant to fly the nest as ever with nearly half of those under 40 still living at home with their parents, according to a new study released Monday.

The report by national statistics bureau Istat from data collected between 2003 and 2007 showed over 48% of Italians between the age of 18 and 39 under their parents' roofs.

The study highlighted a significant gender gap with 53% of adult men still living at home as opposed to 42% of women, evidence in favour of the time-honored stereotype of the Italian mammone (mamma's boy).

Ahead of doting mothers, however, Istat listed economic difficulty as the leading factor keeping young Italians at home.

Of the 80% of those unable to move into their own homes, 47% said they were unemployed or didn't make enough money.

However, 44% said they were ''happy'' to live with their parents and in no any rush to move out.

Among Italians who had struck out on their own, 44% did so to move in with their spouses, while 28% cited the need for freedom and independence.

Regionally, nearly 60% of adults in the south waited to get married before leaving their parents' home, while in the north marriage came second to the desire for personal space.

Of the over 50% of Italians polled in 2003 who said they ''intended to move out'' sometime in the near future, less than 40% had succeeded in doing so four years later.

According to Istat, ''the prolonged co-habitation of children with their parents is among the chief problems facing the nation''.

Istat blamed the phenomena for a host of ills from the country's low birthrate to diminished levels of social and cultural dynamism, with serious consequences for the economy.

In 2007, former finance minister Tommaso Padoa-Schioppa sparked a furore when he referred to the young adult Italians living at home as ''big babies''.

Critics from across party lines slammed the minister for suggesting Italian youth were lazy while ignoring low entry-level salaries and stubbornly high housing costs.

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