To downsize or not? Housing adjustment at older ages in Scotland since 1991
Fiori, F., Graham, E. & Feng, Z. (2014) BSPS Annual Conference 2014, Univ of Winchester, 8 - 10 September 2014. [SLS]
In the past decades, the proportion of older households in Scotland has increased. At the same time, social and economic changes have prompted greater diversity in individual life courses and housing careers. This paper investigates the housing consumption of older individuals and couples, and the extent to which this is adjusted in response to changes in household composition. In particular, it examines who is and who is not downsizing and whether moves to smaller housing units have increased since the economic downturn of 2008. Data from the Scottish Longitudinal Study are used to examine the housing adjustments of older adults who change residential address between censuses, as well as the characteristics of those who do not move. Repeated cross-sectional analyses compare two decades (1991-2001 and 2001-2011) to observe decadal changes in residential mobility and immobility, and whether housing adjustment – especially downsizing – has become more or less common. The samples consist of older adults aged 55-69 at the beginning of each decade. Covariates includes individual socio-economic characteristics and housing characteristics at the beginning of the decade and changes in health, work and family composition across the decade. Preliminary findings indicate significant differences by socio-economic status in the likelihood of a residential move and in the direction of housing adjustment, with some older individuals upsizing while others downsize. Changes in individual and family conditions across the decade also play an important role.