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Why some adults cannot afford own homes

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With modernisation, children are leaving home later while others never.

How old is too old to be living under your parents’ roof? Several decades ago, moving into your own home was often seen as a milestone of adulthood.  In Uganda, children moved out of the family home as early as 13 years of age. Traditionally, many cultures consider their children adults as soon as they hit adolescence. The boys would be given a piece of land to build a home and start farming, while the girls were married off.

However, with modernisation, children are leaving home later. It is common for many young adults to move back home after graduation to move out after securing a job. While some manage to do so within a few years, others end up staying indefinitely.

Different adults who still live at home attribute their decisions to various reasons, including financial challenges, difficulty in finding quality housing, and strong family bonds.

Financial constraints

Shifra Nabweteme (40), says she lives with her parents because she is not ready to leave home financially.

“I want to leave home when I believe I can support myself financially without ever having to call back home asking for some assistance. So saving is most important. It is best to leave when you have a substantial amount rather than start with nothing,” she says.

Peer pressure

For Agatha Nimusiima, still living with her parents even if she is in her mid-30s is normal, because many of her peers are doing the same.

 “I am not under pressure to leave, my parents support either decision I make about staying or leaving home. The only thing that makes me want to leave immediately is the fact that I have become a deputy parent and deputy house manager. It gets tiring having to do many tasks especially when it is all up to you. Being on my own will take off some of that responsibility and I will be able to enjoy my freedom.”

Constant travel

Benjamin Ochola (42) says he still lives with his mum because of his constant travels.

“I am never home. I travel a lot to the field so why should I rent when half the time am not around?”

Ochola says his job requires him to be in the field four to five days a week so his home would become a security risk and a burden.

Security reasons

According to Maria Ajuna, the main reason she is still living with her parents is because of security. She believes her parent’s home in Buziga is the safest place for her.

“I left home twice but during those two times, my home was broken into. I then decided to go back to my parent’s home and for five years now, nothing has happened. As a girl living alone, you need a secure place, which is not easy to come by,” she says.

My dad does want me to leave

Mark Isingoma has on several occasions attempted to leave his dad’s place but his dad urges him not to. “I still live with my dad because having to pay rent when there is free accommodation does not make sense,” he says. His father has encouraged him to save his money and he is happy to take care of him as he did when he was still a child.


Isma Kigozi has been living with his parents for the past 33 years and despite attempts to leave home and start his own life ahead of him, he cannot. Kigozi has the responsibility of looking after his aged parents because all his siblings live abroad.

“I am confined at home because of my sick parents. I am the only one who has to look after them so I do not have the liberty of getting my place,” he says.

Saving for the future

According to Sophia Nabisere, she still lives at home because she cannot afford to live alone. 

“I am looking at a certain amount of money to get out of home. I want to move out well knowing that I can afford whatever I have been getting from my parents,” she says.

Besides that, she also says she is still home because of the freedom she has.

“Although I live with my parents, they respect my decisions and treat me as an adult. I can come and leave as and when I want,” she says.


Tracey Nabulo is a 35-year-old only child who thinks her parents will feel abandoned if she leaves home.

 “I know for a fact that if I leave home, it will hurt my parents in all possible ways so I have decided to make peace with not having my own home,” she says adding that it comes with the benefit of not having any financial responsibilities such as rent and upkeep. 

She also confesses having become accustomed to a higher standard of living than she can afford.