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Leaving Home Myth Busters

A study of Australian trends in age of first leaving the family home suggests that the often talked about issue of adult children staying home until their late 20's, may be a more isolated than a general trend. Nevertheless the study shows a noticeable increase between older and younger Generation X cohorts.

For those born 1972-76, the median age of first leaving home was 19.9 for males and 19.0 for females. For those born 1977-81, the median ages increase to 21.1 for males (+1.2) and to 19.5 for females (+0.5). Between these age groups, the median age of ceasing tertiary education is largely unchanged but the median age of first partnering in their own dwelling actually reduced by between 0.6 and 0.3 years for males and females so there is something else going on - most likely property prices.

The data used in the study was from the 2001 HILDA Survey. It is reasonable to speculate that the birth cohort trend identified may be related to property price escalation and a later study will be interesting to see given the Australian house price increase moved from 8% in 2001 to 18% in both 2002 and 2003. The study is included in the May 2007 edition of the Journal of Population Research and was authored by Paul Flatau, Ian James, Richard Watson, Gavin Wood and Patric H. Hendershott. A copy can be found at http://www.jpr.org.au/upload/JPR24-1Flatau.pdf

Posted Sunday, 7 October 2007

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