The changing dynamics of leaving and returning home among young adults in Britain

Juliet A. Stone, University of Southampton
Ann M. Berrington, University of Southampton
Jane C. Falkingham, University of Southampton

Young adults in Britain tend to leave home early relative to their European counterparts but recent attention in Britain has focused upon the increasing proportion of young adults who live with their parents (Patiniotis and Holdsworth, 2005; Berrington et al., 2009). Over the past twenty years there have been significant changes in the institutional and structural context within which young adults make these transitions. These include the expansion of higher education, the collapse of the youth labour market and increased house prices. Furthermore, ideational changes have altered young adults’ orientations towards family and employment careers. As a result, patterns of leaving the parental home and transitions to independent living, partnership and family formation in the UK are now more protracted and diverse than in the recent past. This paper uses data from the British Household Panel Survey to quantify the changing dynamics of leaving and returning to the parental home in Britain. Seventeen annual waves of data, from 1991 to 2007, are available. We track the living arrangements of young adults aged 16-19 at baseline between 1991 and 2003, during a five-year follow-up period. Using regression models we examine factors associated with leaving home and with returning to the parental home. Specific research questions include: How are individual and parental resources associated with movement out of and return to the parental home? How do these factors vary according to gender and socio-economic background? Does the type of parental family structure have any independent impact on the speed and timing of departure or return? What changes in the above relationships have there been between the early 1990s and mid 2000s? The paper extends previous work by explicitly comparing cohorts of young adults in the early 1990s, late 1990s and 2000s, and by focusing on both leaving and returning home.

Presented in Poster Session 1