Most 20-year-olds in Ireland are in education and are financially dependent on their parents, according to a study.

The latest Growing up in Ireland study says the group reports good health but are also heavier than they were aged 17 or 18 and one in four reports high levels of stress or depressive symptoms.

Access to housing is the biggest concern for this age group particularly amongst those from less advantaged backgrounds. Climate Change and poverty are also of concern.

Over 70% say financial and job security are important aspirations for them.

Researchers from the ESRI and Trinity College Dublin interviewed more than 5,000 people for the study and found that 62% were in higher or further education, while 6% were in training, 21% were working full time and 6% had part time jobs.

More than two thirds were living at home and financially dependent on their parents. Also 8% were experiencing difficulty or great difficulty making ends meet.

The study found that most 20 year olds were using constructive strategies to deal with stress. These included talking to friends or family and spending times on hobbies or listening to music.

About one quarter experienced relatively high levels of stress or depressive symptoms with this more common amongst young women. Young people who had experienced depressive symptoms at a younger age or whose mothers had those symptoms were at higher risk.

On other health issues the percentage of those overweight or obese had risen by third since they were 17, from 27% to 36%. Obesity rates were higher for young women, 16% as opposed to 9%, as were rates of physical inactivity.

On smoking, 15% of 20 year olds said they smoked every day and 23% said they did so occasionally and almost all, 93%, drank alcohol.

Nearly one quarter used cannabis occasionally or more frequently.

The Growing Up in Ireland study, which started in 2006, is the national longitudinal study of children and young people.


Read more:
Growing up in Ireland key findings: Cohort '98 at 20-years-old