Volume 50 - Article 3 | Pages 101–114  

Leaving and returning to the parental home during COVID times in France, Italy, Germany, Spain, and the United Kingdom

By Francesca Luppi, Alessandro Rosina, Emiliano Sironi


Background: During the first year of the COVID pandemic, many European young adults abandoned or delayed their plans to achieve housing autonomy, especially those facing vulnerable employment conditions and in contexts with limited welfare state provision for the young population.

Objective: The present study contributes to this body of knowledge by examining plans and behaviours associated with leaving the parental home among young individuals (aged 18 to 34) in five European countries, more than one year after the onset of the epidemic at the beginning of 2020.

Methods: Drawing on data from two waves of a cross-sectional survey conducted in May and November 2021 as part of the Youth Project, we investigate the various ways in which the living arrangements of young individuals, such as exiting or returning to the parental home, have evolved in response to the pandemic, in alignment with or in contrast to their pre-pandemic intentions. To achieve this, we employ both multinomial and logit models.

Results: We find that the subjective perception of economic vulnerability during the ongoing recession continues to have a negative impact on the intention to obtain or maintain housing autonomy, especially in Italy and Spain.

Contribution: We demonstrate a persistent disadvantage in achieving housing autonomy during the COVID era among young people in Italy and Spain, and to a lesser extent in the United Kingdom, compared to their German and French counterparts. Our results, based on both intentions and behaviours, are more robust than those in previous studies. Additionally, we explore ‘boomerang’ trajectories, i.e., instances of returning to the parental home during the crisis.

Author's Affiliation

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