Precocious Life Course Transitions, Exits From, and Returns to the Parental Home


Cody Warner, Jason N. Houle


Advances in Life Course Research


Residential independence has long been considered a core feature of the transition to adulthood in contemporary American society. But in recent years a growing share of young adults are living in their parents’ household, and many of these have returned home after a spell of residential independence. Recent research on exits and returns to the parental home has focused on the role of concurrent life-course transitions, young adult social and economic status, family background, and family connectivity. We know little, however, about how precocious, or early, life course transitions during adolescence affect leaving or returning home. We use longitudinal data from the National Longitudinal Survey of Youth (1997 Cohort) to examine the association between precocious transitions to adult roles during adolescence and home-leaving (n=8,865) and home-returning (n=7,704) in the United States. Some, but not all, precocious transitions are tied to residential transitions, and often in competing ways. Our findings contribute to growing research on young adults living in the parental home, and shows how adolescent experiences can contribute to inequality in the transition to adulthood.



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