Living Arrangements of Young Adults in Europe

Katrin Schwanitz, Clara H. Mulder


Comparative research suggests that there are great cross-national and cross-temporal differences in living arrangements of young adults aged 18-34 in Europe. In this paper, we examine young adults’ living arrangements (1) across several European countries and different national contexts, and (2) by taking into account cross-time variability. In doing so, we pay careful attention to a comprehensive conceptualisation of living arrangements (including extended and non-family living arrangements). The aim of this paper is to deepen our understanding of family structure and household arrangements in Europe by examining and mapping the cross-national and cross-temporal variety of young adults’ living arrangements. For our analysis we use data from the Integrated Public Use Microdata Series International (IPUMSi) for the census rounds 1980, 1990, and 2000 for eight European countries (Austria, France, Greece, Hungary, Ireland, Portugal, Romania, and Switzerland). We employ log-linear models to ascertain the influence of individual and contextual factors on living arrangements. The analyses lend further support to a North/West – South/East divide in living arrangements and general gender differentials in extended family living. Other interesting results are the heterogeneity in the living arrangements of single mothers across geographic areas, and the upward trend of extended household living for young men and women between 1980 and 2000.


Living arrangements; Young adults; IPUMS-International; Transition to adulthood; Europe


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