A majority of people in the U.S. believe that adults in their twenties living in their parents’ home should pay rent, even if the parents do not need the money.

That is according to an exclusive poll conducted on behalf of Newsweek. It found that nearly two-thirds of U.S. adults polled are in favor of grown-up offspring paying their way.

An unhappy man and rent due.
Stock images of an adult child in his parents’ home and (inset) of a calendar showing rent due. The vast majority of Americans are in favor of parents charging their adult children rent.
Hemera Technologies/Highwaystarz-Photography/Getty

According to data compiled by the Pew Research Center, as of July 2022, 50 percent of adults in America aged 18 to 29 were living with one or both of their parents.

Although this figure was down slightly from the peak of 52 percent recorded in June 2020, it remained significantly higher than the numbers reported a decade earlier.

Back in 2010, an average of 44 percent of 18- to 29-year-olds still lived with their parents. A decade earlier, in 2000, that stood at 38 percent.

Much of this can be attributed to the current economic climate. Median U.S. monthly rents hit new records in 2022, and house prices continued to rise in popular metro areas.

However, the survey of 1,500 U.S. adults, conducted by Redfield & Wilton Strategies on behalf of Newsweek, has shown that many believe these stay-at-home adults should be contributing to the wider household costs.

As part of the research, respondents were asked: “Which of the following comes closest to your view regarding adults in their twenties who are living in their parents’ home in order to save on housing costs?”

Given three options to choose from, 57 percent said “their parents should require them to pay rent, even if the parents do not need the money.”

By contrast, just 28 percent of those polled chose the option: “Their parents should allow them to live rent-free if the parents do not need the money.” A further 15 percent chose to answer simply, “don’t know.”

Teresa Lodato is an author and relationship coach who specializes in family conflicts. Reflecting on the idea of charging adult children rent, she told Newsweek that she believes no two families are the same. While the approach of charging rent may work for some, others prefer an alternative solution.

“Culture plays a huge role in whether adult children live at home until they are married or can support themselves,” Lodato said. “Oftentimes, adult children will ‘pay’ for their stay by pitching in and doing chores to contribute to the household.”

Even so, Lodato added that there can be benefits to it. “Some parents believe adult working children also need to contribute to the household, albeit financially in addition to chores, and that it teaches children to take responsibility for themselves,” she said.

Although some might suggest charging an adult child rent could hinder their prospects of getting on the property ladder, Lodato has seen cases where the opposite has been true.

“There are parents I know who do not need the financial support and have often opted to charge their adult children rent, but then take that money and bank it for their children to help provide down-payment funds for a future home,” Lodato said.