Volume 7 - Article 17 | Pages 565–592  

A comparative analysis of leaving home in the United States, the Netherlands and West Germany

By Clara H. Mulder, William A.V. Clark, Michael Wagner


We investigate how leaving the parental home differs between three countries with different welfare-state and housing systems: the USA, the Netherlands and West Germany. Using longitudinal survey data, we examine the transitions of leaving home to live with and without a partner.
We find that, much more than in the European countries, union formation has become separated from leaving home in the USA. We also find a different impact of level of education and employment status on leaving-home patterns in the European countries with their social-welfare state system than in the US system in which market forces prevail. The differences are not just related to welfare-state systems but also to the sizes of the countries and the geographical dispersion of jobs and educational opportunities.

Author's Affiliation

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