5th Oct 2022 @ 12:53 pm

Only 16% of Spanish young people under the age of 30 live independently of their parents, it was announced last month by Spain’s Emancipation Observatory.

The situation has been worsened by the Covid pandemic, before which the figure of young people living away from their family home was close to 20%, but even this is still a shockingly low figure.

The average age at which a Spaniard leaves the family home is currently 29.7 years, compared to 24 in France and 17.5 in Sweden. While some attribute this to social reasons such as tighter-knit family units, the main reasons are economic.

Rising house prices, spiralling rents and low wages have made living independently difficult or impossible for millions of Spanish young people. A recent article in El País newspaper described how the concept of the “mileurista” – a person who earned €1,000 a month or less – has stopped being an emblem of low wages and precarious employment and is now an aspiration for many young Spaniards.

The problem is worse in tourist regions, where foreign buyers have helped to raise property prices well beyond the scope of most young people. The results can be seen on Lanzarote, for example, where cheaper areas such as Arrecife and Playa Honda have a significantly younger local population than the resorts.

There is also a clear difference between the sexes. Although more women than men leave home before the age of 30, only 14% of them do so on their own, compared to 27% of men. The Emancipation Observatory blames this figure on the fact that women are more likely than men to be in precarious jobs.

The average price of a deposit on a property is 3.5 times the average annual salary of under-30s, and the average rent of €850 is more than double what the average young Spaniard can afford. For this reason, flat sharing is on the increase – 35% of young people who move out of their parents’ home go into shared accommodation.

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