The average Brit doesn’t feel like a grown-up until they’re 29, study finds

Here's to typing '5318008' on a calculator.

Christopher Hooton
Wednesday 02 September 2015 12:39 BST
Tom Hanks in 1988 film 'Big'
Tom Hanks in 1988 film 'Big'

Ever still feel like you’re an 8-year-old with each passing birthday? Well new research has revealed that despite technically becoming an adult at 18, the average Brit does not feel like they have become a ‘grown-up’ until they reach the age of 29.

The study cites ‘living at home longer, playing computer games, watching children’s movies and a reluctance to settle for a “real job”’ as some of the most common reasons for not feeling like an adult, though speculatively I would add to that increasing life spans and the general death of adulthood in culture.

Life insurance provider Beagle Street questioned 2,000 people over the age of 18 to identify the triggers of becoming an adult. 68 per cent of people said picking up the keys to a new home was the biggest sign of being an adult, closely followed by becoming a parent (63 per cent) and getting married (52 per cent). Other signs of being a grown up include becoming house proud, having a joint bank account, looking forward to a night in and doing DIY.

“More adults than ever before are leaving it later in life to move out from the parental home, get married or have children, commented sociologist Dr Frank Furedi of the University of Kent. “

“This is having a knock on effect to how old and ‘grown up’ people actually perceive themselves to be, which suggests that the old adage of age being but a number is factually true.

“The research shows that what people really believe constitutes being an ‘adult’ are actually significant life events that give them adult responsibilities. Up until that point, regardless of their actual age, they are still perceived adolescents.”

In addition to these life events, one need only look at the comic book superhero films dominating cinemas, emojification of conversation and palpable nostalgia 90s culture to see that people are now enjoying things aimed at children much later in life.


1. Buying your first home (64 per cent say this signifies being a grown-up)

2. Becoming a parent (63 per cent)

3. Getting married (52 per cent)

4. Paying into a pension (29 per cent)

5. Becoming house proud (22 per cent)

6. Taking out life insurance (21 per cent)

7. Looking forward to a night in (21 per cent)

8. Doing DIY (18 per cent)

9. Hosting dinner parties (18 per cent)

10. Having a joint bank account (17 per cent)


1. Relying on parents (42 per cent agree)

2. Living at home longer (36 per cent)

3. Playing computer games (31 per cent)

4. Watching children’s movies like Inside Out or Frozen (30 per cent)

5. Watching cartoons (29 per cent)

6. Fear growing up and taking responsibility (28 per cent)

7. Not wanting a real or a 9-5 job (22 per cent)

8. Desire to travel and see the world (20 per cent)

9. Idolising juvenile role model adults (like Smithy in Gavin & Stacey) (20 per cent)

10. A lack of real life education (19 per cent)

ABOUT THE RESEARCH: Independent research company Fly Research questioned 2,000 adults aged 18 and above in August 2015 from across the country.

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