Italy says why-the-hell-not to bambocciona

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First, vocabulary check.  Bambocciona (or bamboccioni in male form), roughly means “big baby”, an Italian slang for adult children who don’t leave home.

On with the story.

In a legal dispute between a father and his 32-year-old daughter seeking living allowance from him to continue supporting her student lifestyle, an Italian judge has sided with the bambocciona.

For years, Italians have cited low starting salaries, high housing prices, and unpromising job prospects for the high percentage of adults still living at home.  In this particular case:

Eight years after she was due to graduate with a degree in philosophy, Ms Casagrande is still working on her thesis and lives with her mother. The allowance was fixed when her parents divorced in 1997 .

This case is reminiscent of a 2002 judgment, where a professor at Naples University and former member of parliament was told by the court to pay his 30-year-old son €775 a month until he could find a job that “fit his aspirations”.

In 2007, Italian senate briefly flirted with the idea of a bamboccioni tax break, in an attempt to get young Italians out of their parental homes.

It was quickly rebuffed by politicians who claimed with indignation: “young Italians could hardly be blamed for a sputtering economy and high rents.”

As a result, over a third of Italian men over the age of 30 (and 82% of those between 18 and 30) still live at home with their parents.  With the highest percentage of intergenerational cohabitation in Europe, Italy now suffers from  abysmally low birth rates for a Catholic country.

And Italy is far from the only country dealing with infantilized adults.

Japan too is struggling with the large number of young adults who have no desire to strike out on their own, although there it’s a predominantly female phenomenon (80% of women in their early 30s and 60% of men).  [Those] ‘parasite singles’, young women, who despite holding down reasonably paid jobs, live off their parents while spending their money on expensive consumer goods such as Cartier watches, Bulgari rings and Chanel handbags.

Japan also has even lower fertility rates than Italy.

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