Only 15% of young people have managed to emancipate themselves due to the cost of housing

Spaniards become independent on average at almost 30 years of age, three later than in Europe, and most do so by sharing a flat

Edurne Martinez

In Spain, the vast majority of young people continue to live with their parents. The latest report from the Emancipation Observatory reveals that at the end of 2021 only 15.6% of those under 30 were living independently, a figure that, although it has improved slightly compared to the data for the first semester (14.9% ), it is still three points below pre-pandemic levels.

In addition, the rate of emancipation continues to be far from that of our European neighbors and the age at which a Spaniard leaves, on average, the family home is also higher. Specifically, young Spaniards become independent at 29.7 years, three above the European average, which is 26.4. According to Eurostat data, in most northern European countries people leave the family home in their early twenties, while in those in the south and east the average age is in their late twenties or thirties. At the bottom is Denmark, with an average age of emancipation of 32.4 years. And at the top, Sweden, where young people leave their parents' house at 17.5 years old.

Two out of five people under 30 become independent by sharing a flat because paying rent alone would mean spending 80% of their salary on average

From the Observatory dependent on the Ministry of Social Rights they point out that there is a "significant gender gap" in socioeconomic terms that lead to different patterns of emancipation. Thus, although there are more women who leave home before the age of 30 than men (18.5% compared to 12.7%), only 14% of them manage to do so alone, compared to 27% of boys.

According to the report, this lower rate of emancipation alone in women is due to greater job insecurity: the temporary employment rate is six points higher in the case of young women than in men (58.6%) and partiality is practically double (33.7% compared to 17.8% of men). "The substantial difference in income due to working fewer hours and with less stability means that emancipation alone poses a greater risk for women than for young men," Elena Ruiz Cebrián, president of the Council of the Youth of Spain (CJE).

In this sense, with regard to the housing market, a young person must currently dedicate 3.8 times their annual net salary to be able to pay the down payment on an average mortgage to buy a home, the report points out. And regarding rent, the average cost amounts to 850 euros in Spain, while a person under 30 years old can only assume a fee of 320 euros without falling into over-indebtedness.

Given this situation, the "only alternative for them" -said Cebrián- is to share housing. And it is that while for a single person emancipation would mean 79% of the salary, sharing a flat that amount is reduced to 25% of the salary. For this reason, "it is not surprising that 35% of emancipated young people do so by sharing a flat with other people with whom they are not related," they explain from the CJE.

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