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The timing of and reasons why young people in Germany return to their parental home

Berngruber, Anne (2021):
The timing of and reasons why young people in Germany return to their parental home.
In: Journal of Youth Studies
Jahrg.: 24, H. 2, S. 213-231

From a life course perspective, living independently, outside of the parental home is widely considered to be a key step towards adulthood. However, leaving the parental home can be a reversible process. This article provides empirical evidence of several ‘push’ and ‘pull’ factors affecting the timing, and therefore the likelihood of young people’s return to the parental home in Germany. The discrete-time survival analysis used here is based on the second wave of the survey AID:A conducted by the German Youth Institute in 2014/15. The sample comprises 5,518 young adults aged 18–32 years who have already moved out of their parental home at least once. The results show that a return is more likely if the young adults become unemployed, when they finish university or if they left home with the intention of this being only a temporary change (e.g. stay abroad, social year). In the light of this evidence, young adults’ spatial mobility can be considered not so much the result of voluntary decisions made bythe actors themselves, but can rather be seen as being dependent on their ability to take further steps towards adulthood with some certainty that these steps will not need to be reversed.

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