Volume 48 - Article 3 | Pages 43–88

Solo living in the process of transitioning to adulthood in Europe: The role of socioeconomic background

By Jana Klimova Chaloupkova

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Date received:06 Oct 2021
Date published:27 Jan 2023
Word count:9824
Keywords:cross-national comparison, Europe, leaving home, life course, living alone, trajectories, transition to adulthood


Background: In recent decades, patterns of transition to adulthood have undergone substantial changes, including an increase in people living solo after leaving the parental home. However, the extent to which solo living after leaving the parental home is a transitory state, quickly followed by union formation, or a relatively long-term state in the pathways to adulthood, and how long-term solo living is socially stratified are all questions that remain unanswered.

Objective: To fill this gap, this study focuses on home-leaving pathways that have unfolded over a 5-year period after leaving home. It explores the association between socioeconomic background (parental education) and the long-term, solo-living, home-leaving pathways of young men and women across 29 European countries.

Methods: Using European Social Survey Round 9 (2018) data, this study applies a competing trajectory analysis, which combines sequence analysis to identify home-leaving patterns with event history analysis, in order to analyse their association with parental education.

Results: The occurrence of solo-living pathways varies considerably across Europe: both short-term and long-term solo-living pathways are the highest in Northern Europe. Long-term solo-living pathways are associated with being in education and with high levels of individual and parental education. The effect of parental education does not differ systematically across European countries and does not differ between genders.

Contribution: This study contributes to the understanding of the social stratification of the transition to adulthood across European countries by differentiating between transitory and longer-term solo-living, home-leaving pathways.

Author's Affiliation

Jana Klimova Chaloupkova - Akademie věd České Republiky, Czech Republic [Email]

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