Young adults who receive parental support are more likely to be studying and have access to better job opportunities than young people from disadvantaged backgrounds, according to a recent study by the Melbourne Institute of Applied Economic and Social Research.
The research found that while young people from disadvantaged backgrounds receive less financial support from their parents, they are more likely to be residentially and financially independent of their parents at an earlier age than their more advantaged peers.
Co-authors Professor Deborah Cobb-Clark from the Melbourne Institute at the University of Melbourne’s Faculty of Business and Economics and Professor Tue Gorgens from the Research School of Economics at the Australian National University looked at interviews conducted with 18-20 year olds over the past decade. They primarily examined data on their families’ welfare experience, such as Centrelink receipts, unemployment, poverty, family breakdown and single parenthood.
“Unfortunately, not all young people will have access to the parental support they want or need. Some families lack the necessary resources, while others may simply be unwilling to continue supporting their children after they reach adulthood,” said Professor Cobb-Clark.
“Children who grow up in disadvantaged outcomes are more likely to leave school early, have less access to resources like gifted and talented classes and have a lower probability of studying.”
Professor Cobb-Clark said that while changes in youth allowance over the years have focused on the disadvantaged, it has also raised the threshold for becoming independent.
“When you access the social system you are doing so on the basis of your parents’ income not your own, therefore parents will often be supporting young adults in the 18 year old age range.”
Professor Cobb-Clark said that support from parents can play an important role in ensuring that young people make a successful transition into adult roles.
“A young person’s life chances are shaped by the investments they make in their education and career development in early adulthood,” said Professor Cobb-Clark.
“Children who have the option of co-residing with their parents and get their support with education and training costs enjoy higher living standards primarily as a result of improved labour market opportunities.”
The research paper can be accessed via: www.melbourneinstitute.com/downloads/working_paper_series/wp2012n04.pdf