Family structure and home-leaving: A life course perspective

TitleFamily structure and home-leaving: A life course perspective
Publication TypeJournal Article
Year of Publication2015
AuthorsRossignon, F
JournalLIVES Working Papers
Keywordsfamily structure, home-leaving, life course, Switzerland

The aim of this study is to examine whether the recent increase in divorces and remarriages, which has led to a growing complexity of the composition of household, is likely to affect the propensity of young adults leaving the parental home. The empirical research was based on the Cohort study, a panel survey that started in autumn 2013 in Switzerland. Two longitudinal statistical methods were used as complementary approaches. First, sequence and cluster analyses were conducted to identify typical trajectories of childhood family structure, the event history analysis was used to analyse the home-leaving process and to estimate whether these childhood family structures are likely to influence this aforementioned event. Analyses, which were based on retrospective longitudinal data, show that individuals from dissolved households, such as step- and single-parent families, have higher odds of leaving the parental home than those who grew up in intact households. Nonetheless, the effect of the stepfamily only becomes significant when the interaction with the sex of the respondent is taken into account. Lastly, there is some evidence that people who experience a transition from a non-standard family structure to a bi-parental household are as likely to leave home as those who grow up with their two parents. As leaving home very early might have negative consequences on later life opportunities, the findings draw attention to the fact that the family structure is a significant determinant of the transition toward a stable and successful work and family trajectory.