Why this story matters:
According to Catholic scholars, Jesus Christ was 33 when he was crucified. Up until then -- the Bible says -- he changed the world.
According to Eurostat, a typical young Croat male is slightly less accomplished by the age of 33, when he leaves his mom. Until then -- I would venture to say -- his life and surroundings are subject to very little change. His parents feed him, and give him shelter and pocket money, just as they did when he was a little boy.
Once moving out finally takes place, the suffering becomes unimaginable.
Paying his own bills and taking care of himself becomes his own responsibility.
The Passion of the Croat.
Some might say it's inappropriate to compare Jesus Christ to an average young Croat so let's switch to other comparisons. A typical Danish man has long been independent before reaching his thirties. He lives on his own, with a flatmate or with a partner, and typically has a job.
Of course, many young Croats are unemployed, and it is indeed a big barrier to starting an autonomous life. But financial uncertainty is often an excuse for them to be sleeping in their childhood rooms far into adulthood. Because even men with jobs often choose to live with their parents.
Part of the reason for it might be attributed to family traditions typical for southern European countries. But even Italians -- famous for being "mama's boys" or "mammoni" -- rank higher on the list.
On average, a Croatian woman leaves her family home three years earlier than a Croatian man -- just before she turns 30. Which means that Croatian women strive for independence earlier in life than men, even if the average age of moving out from parents' homes is among the highest for females in the EU.
Not having enough empirical knowledge about the rest of the Union, I'll refuse to conclude that Croat men are the EU's biggest "mama's boys". But those statistics must be telling us something?
Details from the story:
- Young people on average leave their parents' home in their early twenties in most northern and western EU member states. In southern and eastern EU member states, the average age for leaving home is in the late twenties or early thirties, according to Eurostat's "Being Young in Europe Today" research.
- In 2016, young people did not leave the parental home until the age of 27.1 for men and 25.1 for women on average across the whole EU region.
- More than three quarters of young men aged 25-29 years lived in their parent’s home in Croatia (84.6%), Slovakia (81.9%), Malta (78.0%) and Greece (77.1%). By contrast, young men in Denmark, Finland and Sweden were much more likely to have left the parental home, as only 5.6%, 8.7% and 10.3% of those aged 25-29 years were still living with their parents in 2016.
- Not only in Croatia, but anywhere in the EU -- young men move out from their family homes later than women.
- In Croatia, where the average age for men leaving the parental home was 33.2 years -- the highest average age for men among all of the Member States -- while for women it was 29.7 years.
- The oldest average age for women leaving their parental home was observed in Malta -- at 30.6 years -- the only EU state to record a value for women above 30 years.