Holistic trajectories: a study of combined employment, housing and family careers by using multiple-sequence analysis

Publication type

Journal Article


Publication date

June 1, 2007


Social science applications of sequence analysis have thus far involved the development of a typology on the basis of an analysis of one or two variables which have had a relatively low number of different states. There is a yet unexplored potential for sequence analysis to be applied to a greater number of variables and thereby a much larger state space. The development of a typology of employment experiences, for example, without reference to data on changes in housing, marital and family status is arguably inadequate. The paper demonstrates the use of sequence analysis in the examination of multivariable combinations of status as they change over time and shows that this method can provide insights that are difficult to achieve through other analytic methods. The data that are examined here provide support to intuitive understandings of clusters of common experiences which are both life course specific and related to socio-economic factors. Housing tenure is found to be of key importance in understanding the holistic trajectories that are examined. This suggests that life course trajectories are sharply differentiated by experience of social housing.

Published in

Journal of the Royal Statistical Society Series A (Statistics in Society)


Volume: 170 (1):167-183



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