Are boys bigger moochers than girls?

Prospective parents who are worried about the long-term economic burden of children ought to hope for daughters. Boys, even when they're old enough to be called men, are far more likely to mooch off their parents.

In fact, while many of today's parents rightly expect the kids to require some economic help right after college, males are far more likely to be dependent when they've reached middle age.

That's one of the findings in a poll of more than 2,000 adults sponsored by financial website Yodlee Interactive. Here are some others:

A whopping 38 percent of men (with living parents or in-laws) between the ages of 35 and 44 are receiving some economic help versus just 18% of women in the same age group.

Roughly 13 percent of these men are getting help with housing costs, either by living with their parents or having them pay the rent or mortgage. Just 3 percent of women receive such assistance at that age.

Twice as many middle-aged men get help with buying clothing as women (9 percent vs. 4 percent). And four times more 35- to 44-year-old men ask mom and dad for money to pay for groceries or meals (14 percent) as women (4 percent).

When women do ask for financial help, it's mostly for their kids. About 8 percent of 35- to 45-year-old women said their parents help pay for the grandkids' clothes or education.

One bright finding in the poll: Adult kids are also willing to support their aging parents when they need to:

  • 53 percent said they would or had subsidized their parent's housing bills.
  • 45 percent have or would help with medical bills.
  • 46 percent would let their parents move in with them.
  • 45 percent would pay the cost of nursing care.

Notably, gender differences also show up when it comes to supporting parents. But these differences were more modest, accounting for swings of just two or three percentage points. And the differences were more about form than substance.

More women, for instance, would support their parents by having them move in rather than paying their housing bills. Men would be more likely to pay the bills than have mom or dad take a room.