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Leaving the Parental Home in the Time of Youth Unemployment and Non-Standard Employment

Source: Tero Vesalainen

Young people live longer in the parental home and delay the transition to independent living and the formation of their own household. This trend has become prevalent in recent years across Europe, including in countries with a traditionally early age of youth independence, such as the UK. How is this related to the adverse labour market conditions that young people have faced over the past decade? In a recent study carried out by the EXCEPT project members, Katerina Gousia (University of Kent), Anna Baranowska-Rataj (Umea University), Thomas Middleton (University of Kent) and Olena Nizalova (University of Kent) looked at the impact of youth unemployment and non-standard forms of employment, such as fixed-term and part-time contracts, on the probability of young adults living on their own and away from their parents.

Their study used six waves of data (2009-2014) from Understanding Society – The UK Household Longitudinal Study (UKHLS) and looked at how being unemployed or in a temporary full-time contract, permanent part-time contract and temporary part-time contract affect the chances of housing autonomy among young people compared to their counterparts employed in permanent full-time jobs.

The results suggest that contrary to what one might expect, fixed-term full-time employment does not affect the probability of leaving the parental home in the UK. However, unemployment among both men and women has a persistent and long-lasting effect that hinders the ability of young Britons to transition to independent living. The results show that past as well as anticipated unemployment have significant negative effects, which suggests that the decision about whether to move out depends on the individual’s longer-term labour market trajectory.

The study also revealed some important gender differences. Although permanent part-time employment hinders housing autonomy for men, it does not affect women’s decisions to move out of the parental home. What the findings suggest is that women’s decision to opt for a part-time job comes after their decision to form a family and balance work and care responsibilities and consequently their decision to live away from parents.


The EXCEPT project has received funding from the European Union’s Horizon 2020 research and innovation programme under grant agreement No 649496. This research was also supported by grant no. 2017-02385 from the Swedish Research Council.

Author(s) of the original publication: 
Katerina Gousia