Patterns of intergenerational co-residence. Evidence from former socialist countries

Mihaela Haragus, Babes-Bolyai University

High intergenerational co-residence in Eastern Europe has been noticed by researchers and its levels are usually connected with a historical pattern of family formation with high incidence of extended/multigenerational households on the one hand, and the housing situation (availability and affordability) on the other hand. A closer look at the household and family contexts in the region shows, in terms of traditional household formation patterns, that a neolocal-nuclear household formation system was characteristic for Romania, and complex/multigenerational households had small proportions in other countries in the region, too (e.g. Bulgaria). The post-socialist housing crisis, brought by the privatization of the housing stock, the sharply decreasing rhythm of construction of new dwellings and drastic decrease in the purchasing power of population, may have been forcing young people to co-reside with their parents even after forming their own family. This argument holds especially for countries where the transition to the market economy was slow and difficult, such as Romania and Bulgaria. We use the Generations and Gender Survey data to investigate patterns of co-residence in several eastern European countries, from the perspective of the adult children who live with their parents. As previous studies showed, characteristics of both adult children and elderly parents matter. We investigate the effect of the opportunity and needs structure of the children (employment status, income, education) and of the parents (income, health status, home ownership) in determining co-residence. Our hypothesis is that the (adult) child’s needs, especially in terms of inability to acquire individual housing, are the main trigger of co-residence.

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Presented in Poster Session 2