März 2013

IZA DP No. 7290: Is Leaving Home a Hardship?

published in: Southern Economic Journal 2015, 81(3), 598-618

Nest-leaving – the transition of young adults from their parents' homes to other living arrangements – is a major life-course milestone. Although the causes of nest-leaving have been extensively researched, only a few studies have examined the changes in young adults' own assessments of their well-being that immediately precede and follow these transitions. This study uses the Household, Income and Labour Dynamics in Australia (HILDA) survey to document the trajectories of financial hardships, food consumption, and other well-being outcomes among Australians who left their parents' homes between the ages of 18 and 25 years. The study estimates multivariate fixed-effects models that compare outcomes before and after nest-leaving transitions to mitigate the effects of confounding characteristics. Men and women report increased financial hardships in the years that they leave home and in the first few years that follow. In particular, men and women both report more frequently going without meals and needing to ask friends and family for financial help. Women additionally report more frequently missing utility and housing payments.