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Routes and determinants of leaving home: the city of Gothenburg, 1915–1943

Journal article
Authors Christer Lundh
Stefan Öberg
Published in The History of the Family
Volume 23
Issue 2
Pages 260-289
ISSN 1081-602X
Publication year 2018
Published at Department of Economy and Society, Economic History
Pages 260-289
Language en
Links https://doi.org/10.1080/1081602X.20...
Keywords Marriage, transition to adulthood, age norms, intergenerational transfers, interwar period
Subject categories Economic History

Abstract

This paper deals with the home-leaving of young adults in Gothenburg, Sweden, in the period 1915–1943. We used individual-level panel data from population registers and poll-tax records, taking a competing risk design for the analysis of the determinants of leaving home to marry, or for non-familial living. We found a transitional, marriage-driven pattern of leaving home that neither fits the old context of life cycle service, nor the alternative modern routes out of the parental home into unmarried householdship. Young adults typically stayed at home until they married, although some moved out to temporary non-familial living first. Non-familial living consisted mainly of lodging in another household, but working outside it, which in a way was a forerunner of the modern pattern, in sharp contrast with the remnant of preindustrial times: the flow from rural areas into Gothenburg of teenage women immigrants to become residential domestic servants. Interestingly, we found that the main determinants of home-leaving in studies of modern-day populations were equally important in the population of Gothenburg in 1915–1943. For both young men and young women, having their own resources (employment, earnings) was positively associated with the likelihood of leaving the parental home. We also found clear gender differences. A higher level of human capital of the father was associated with later home-leaving to marry for sons, and earlier leaving for non-familial living for daughters. Lower levels of household income, or the presence of minor siblings or a widowed parent were push factors for non-familial living for daughters. We found no similar push factors for sons.

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