How has mid-life changed in Britain since the 1980s?

Publication type

Research Paper

Series Number



CPC Briefing Papers


Publication date

September 15, 2011


Changing living arrangements in mid-life reflect historical changes in the occurrence and timing of life events such as marriage and parenthood as well as increases in life expectancy. This briefing summarises research, published in Population Trends No. 145, which investigates changes over time in the presence of kin and living arrangements across the life course and the changing demographics of those in mid-life. The work shows how the marital status, educational level, activity status and housing tenure of those aged 45-64 in Britain have changed over the past quarter century.

The study: The research involves the secondary analysis of large, nationally representative datasets. Changes in kin availability over the past decade are captured by comparing data from the 2001 wave of the British Household Panel Survey with data from the 2009 wave from Understanding Society. These two surveys are unique in that they ask respondents to report the presence of both co-resident and non co-resident kin e.g. children, parents, or grandparents. Changes in living arrangements and the socio-economic profile of those in mid-life are identified using repeated cross-sectional data from the General Household Survey for the period 1984 to 2007.



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