Up to a third of young people face living in private rented accommodation all their lives, a new report by the Resolution Foundation has found.
The think tank, which aims to improve the standard of living of low and middle-income families, said 40% of "millennials" - those born between 1980 and 1996 - were living in rented housing by the age of 30.
That was twice as many as "generation X" - those born between 1965 and 1980.
The Foundation's Home Improvements report said "generation rent" needed much more help. It called for more affordable homes for first-time buyers to be built, as well as better protection for those who rent. Although renting is often a reasonable choice for people who have few ties, the private rented sector is "far less fit for purpose" for those with children because of a lack of security.
The report reveals that a record 1.8 million families with children rent privately, up from 600,000 15 years ago.
Lindsay Judge, senior policy analyst at the Resolution Foundation, said: "Britain's housing problems have developed into a full-blown crisis and young people are bearing the brunt - paying a record share of their income on housing in return for living in smaller, rented accommodation."