Transitions to Independent Living among Young Adults in Scotland in the Late 20th Century
Fiori, F., Graham, E. & Feng, Z. (2014) First Annual International Conference on Demography and Population Studies, Athens, Greece, 16 - 19 June 2014 [SLS]
The past few decades have seen significant demographic, social and economic changes that have resulted in increased diversity across individual life courses and housing careers. Youth transitions to economic and residential independence, as well as to family formation, have increasingly become “late, protracted and complex” (Billari & Liefbroer, 2010). Although men and women have become more alike in how they move into adult roles (Furstenberg, 2010, p.72), women still leave home earlier than men.
The ‘extended’ transition to adulthood in Western Europe has been widely researched, but Scotland has rarely been the focus of empirical investigation. Scotland has a different socio-demographic profile and housing market to the rest of the UK, and the extent to which it shares common trends in transitions to adulthood is unclear. This paper therefore examines living arrangements for young Scots in the late 20th century. Of particular interest are the determinants of young adults’ transitions towards independent living and whether trajectories out of parental home are gendered. Data come from the Scottish Longitudinal Study (1991-2001). The sample consists of young adults aged 16-29 living with their parents at the beginning of the decade. Multinomial regression models are estimated to investigate the determinants of living arrangements 10 years later. The dependent variable contrasts living in the parental home with: a) living with others, b) living alone, c) living in a new family. Individual socio-economic characteristics, parental characteristics and urban/rural location are included as covariates. Findings show that women are more likely than men to leave the parental home. Individual characteristics have a similar effect on both genders, whereas men and women respond differently to the influence of their family and geographical context of origin. The paper concludes with a brief comparison of findings for Scotland with those for other parts of Britain.