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  • Project contributors: Graham E, Feng Z, Fiori F,

    This Project is linked to the following Strand/s:

    Living Longer and the Changing Lifecourse

    Overview

    The past few decades have seen significant demographic, social and economic changes that have resulted in increased diversity across individual life courses and housing careers. As young adults face difficulties in establishing independent living arrangements, so older adults are seen to be under-occupying larger family housing, leading to suggestions that the housing crisis in the UK is more about how the generations share housing than about housing supply. Although there is growing evidence of changes in age-related housing consumption from different parts of the developed world, there is need for a better understanding of what is driving these changes. This is especially so in relation to Scotland, which has a more rapidly ageing population, a different housing stock and a distinctive policy environment compared with the rest of the UK but is less frequently the focus of academic research.

    The aim of the project was to address this research gap by investigating the dimensions and determinants of housing transitions and changes in living arrangements for young (aged 16-29) and older (aged 55-69) adults in Scotland between 1991 and 2011. It makes use of secondary data from three Scottish Censuses and from the Scottish Longitudinal Study, linked to other secondary data on housing and labour market characteristics.

    The project addressed three main research questions:

    1. How have housing transitions and the living arrangements of young and older adults in Scotland changed between 1991 and 2011?
    2. What are the key determinants (individual and contextual) of housing transitions and living arrangements? And have these changed over time?
    3. Has social and geographical polarisation in housing transitions and living arrangements of young and older adults increased over time?
    The dissemination of project findings will contribute to interdisciplinary research on population change and housing and will enhance the evidence base for policy development in Scotland.
    The findings show that both young and older adults in Scotland experienced changes in housing consumption between the 1990s and the 2000s. More young adults stayed longer in the parental home and fewer older adults moved house in the latter decade.
    Homeownership levels among young adults declined, with gender and partnership interacting to shape transitions onto the property ladder. While single women remained less likely than single men to become homeowners, women were more likely to make the transition if they lived with a partner. However, all young adults experienced similar patterns of advantage and disadvantage defined by personal resources and parental background. While many of these inequalities have persisted over time, the distance between the most and least advantaged has widened, some new inequalities have emerged and local housing markets have come to play a greater role.
    Findings also indicate that the housing consumption of older adults who moved house in the 2000s responded to four key life course transitions, namely changes in health, retirement, changes in partnership and adult children leaving home. There is considerable diversity across the two main tenure groups of owner-occupiers and social renters, although the presence of children in the household is associated with upsizing housing and is a significant impediment to downsizing housing in both tenure groups. Given the relative rootedness of older parents with co-resident adult children and their propensity to upsize rather than downsize if they do move, our findings emphasise the need to recognise the interdependencies between younger and older generations in the housing market.

    Publications & Activities

    The impact of household changes on residential mobility and housing adjustments at older ages in Scotland
    Workshop on UK Population Change and Housing across the Lifecourse (2015). (University of St Andrews)
    Authors: Fiori F, Graham E, Feng Z,

    Social inequalities and changing transitions to home ownership among young adults in Scotland over two decades
    Workshop on UK Population Change and Housing across the Lifecourse (2015). (University of St Andrews)
    Authors: Graham E, Fiori F, Feng Z,

    To downsize or not? Housing adjustment at older ages in Scotland since 1991
    British Society for Population Studies Conference 2014 (2014). (Winchester)
    Authors: Fiori F, Graham E, Feng Z,

    Transitions to independent living among young adults in Scotland in the late 20th century
    1st Annual International Conference on Demography and Population Studies (2014). (Athens)
    Authors: Graham E, Fiori F, Feng Z,

    Growing Up and Growing Old in Scotland: housing transitions and changing living arrangements for young and older adults, 1991-2011
    Ladywell House Seminar (2014). (Edinburgh)
    Authors: Graham E, Feng Z, Fiori F,

    Growing Up and Growing Old in Scotland: housing transitions and changing living arrangements for young and older adults, 1991-2011
    ESRC Secondary Data Analysis Initiative Two Day Networking Event (2013). (British Library, London)
    Authors: Graham E,