14/08/2014 12:57 BST | Updated 20/05/2015 06:12 BST

More Than A Quarter Of Young Adults Living With Parents

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Senior adults sitting with their adult children in the living room and talking.

Once upon a time, reaching adulthood meant leaving home and striking out on your own, but new figures from the Office for National Statistics reveal that fewer young adults are fleeing the nest.

Since 1996 there has been a significant increase in the number of 20 to 24 year-olds still living with their parents, bringing the total up to 3.3 million - a hefty 26 to 669,000, despite the fact that the size of this age group has remained stable for the last decade.

The statistics are cause of concern for many. "There are wider implications for things like fertility rates, as people often look to move out of the parental home before having children," Karen Gask, a senior researcher at the ONS, told the BBC.

Observers have pointed to high rates of youth unemployment and a shortage of affordable housing to explain why so many young people are unable to live independently.

The study released by the ONS suggested that the climbing figures were consistent with the economic downturn which has kept many young people out of the job market. Furthermore, the report found that while only 6.

The figures also varied by region, with 36 in London, where high levels of economic migration mean that the young adult population is less likely to have a family base in the city.

The report was keen to emphasise that the problem is not exclusive to the UK, however. In fact, most EU countries have even higher rates of young adults cohabiting with their parents, showing that Britain's young people are not alone - although this may be cold comfort to the adult children still under mum and dad's roof going to sleep on Pokemon bedsheets.