'Mamánci' no more? Young Czechs leaving the nest earlier than EU average

Although the pandemic has forced many to live longer in their parents’ home, Czechs still leave the nest earlier than other EU nationalities.

 William Nattrass

Written by William Nattrass
Published on 25.08.2021 10:59 (updated on 25.08.2021)

The age at which people choose to fend for themselves by leaving their parental home is a good indicator of a number of societal factors, including the affordability of housing and the availability of jobs. The results of a recent study by Eurostat are, therefore, good news for the Czech Republic, showing that young Czechs leave home slightly younger than the EU average.

As is the case throughout Europe, Czech women leave home earlier than men. The average home-leaving age for women in the Czech Republic was 24.7 years, while men only become independent at an average age of 27.3 years.

Still, both men and women leave home in the Czech Republic at a younger age than their counterparts in other EU countries. Indeed, in eight countries included in the Eurostat study (Croatia, Slovakia, Bulgaria, Italy, Malta, Portugal, Spain and Greece), the average age of men leaving the parental home was over 30.

'Mamánek' (mamánci plural) is the Czech word for a man who still lives at home with his parents at a relatively older age and is typically provided cooking and cleaning services by a doting máma.

Despite the Czech Republic’s strong performance, the country follows an EU-wide trend of people living at their parents’ homes for longer. In 2019, the EU home-leaving age was 26.2 years, but in 2020 it rose slightly to 26.4.

“This development reflects the situation surrounding the Covid-19 pandemic, which may have led young people to reconsider moving, deciding to stay with their parents a little longer,” suggested Eurostat.

The ability of young people to leave home is also being impacted by the ever-increasing costs of living in Czech cities. Prague rents increased steadily in the years leading up to the pandemic, and with real estate costs also rising, the temptation to save money by continuing to live at home may be a factor influencing decisions about when to leave the nest.

A recent survey published by the Institute of Sociology of the Academy of Sciences of the Czech Republic showed that four-fifths of young people between the ages of 18 and 35 believe housing is less affordable for them than it was for their parents’ generation. On the other hand, Czechs now leave home on average a year younger than they did ten years ago, suggesting that the impulse towards greater independence continues despite rising living costs.

This trend is the reverse of the increasing numbers of young people living at home in other countries, such as the United Kingdom, where 17 percent more people aged 15-34 live with their parents than they did in 1996. Almost half (47 percent) of UK males aged 15-34 live with their parents today.

According to the Eurostat study, the lowest average age of people leaving their parents’ home in Europe was 17.5 years, in Sweden. The highest average, 32.4 years, was found in Croatia. The results placed the Czech Republic in the company of northern and western European states with lower average ages for home-leavers, while people in southern and eastern countries leave home later, in their late twenties or their thirties.

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