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Leaving mum alone? The effect of parental divorce on children's leaving home decisions

Number: 45
Year: 2011
Author(s): Letizia Mencarini, Elena Meroni, Chiara Pronzato
Keywords: Generations and Gender Survey,GGS,divorce,living home,life-course patterns,France,Georgia,Hungary,Italy,Russia
There is a growing literature considering the relationship between parental divorce and children's life-course patterns. However, there is no general consensus on whether parental separation accelerates or postpones children's transition to adulthood. The aim of this paper is to add to this literature by analyzing the effect of parental divorce on the timing of nest-leaving of young adults. After providing descriptive findings using the recent Generations and Gender Survey (GGS) for five European countries (France, Georgia, Hungary, Italy, Russia), we assess the extent to which the associations between divorce and nest-leaving timing is masked by different effects. First, do children of divorced parents develop different characteristics (e.g., human capital construction and socialization) which in turn make them leave the parental home at a different rate? Secondly, do children of divorced people leave the parental home at a different age because of the new family structure? Our findings show that children who experienced divorce leave home at a faster rate, but the last child in the household who would leave the mother alone delays his/her departure.

Letizia Mencarini

University of Turin, Callegio Carlo Alberto and CHILD


Elena Meroni

Universita Bocconi, Dondena Centre for Research on Social Dynamics and University of Padua, Department of Statistical Sciences


Chiara Pronzato

University of Turin, Callegio Carlo Alberto and CHILD


Keywords: Generations and Gender Survey, GGS, divorce, living home, life-course patterns, France, Georgia, Hungary, Italy, Russia


Download: The paper may be downloaded here.