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Journal Article

Short‐ and long‐distance moves of young adults during the transition to adulthood in Britain


Publication date

Jul 2018


This paper examines spatial mobility of young adults in England and Wales in the 1990s and the 2000s. We investigate short‐ and long‐distance moves of young people by cohort and gender adjusted for individuals' socio‐economic characteristics and changes in other life domains. We study how much employment, partnership, and family changes explain variation in spatial mobility across birth cohorts and between males and females. We apply multistate event history analysis to data from the British Household Panel Survey. We move beyond a single‐event approach and analyse moving trajectories of young adults. The results show that the youngest cohort (born in 1985–1990) leaves the parental home later than the two older cohorts (born in 1974–1979 and 1980–1984), but once they leave the parental nest, they exhibit elevated levels of spatial mobility. We find that females leave the parental home earlier than males; however, there are no gender differences in the levels of higher order moves. By contrast, socio‐economic differences in spatial mobility are persistent; young people from advantaged backgrounds are spatially more mobile than those who come from disadvantaged families. Changes in educational enrolment and level, partnership status, and economic activity explain only little of the differences in spatial mobility across cohorts and between males and females suggesting also the importance of other motives behind the moves. The results are similar for short‐ and long‐distance moves, although the risk levels are higher for the former.

Published in

Population, Space and Place







Geography, Migration, Young People, Households, and Life Course Analysis


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