The influence of social class on paths to adulthood in Italy

Romina Fraboni, Istituto Nazionale di Statistica (ISTAT)

The purpose of this study is to provide an overview of the transition to adulthood in Italy and to shed light on the dynamics between events in order to highlight the main changes related to generations, gender and social class of origin. By means of an exploratory perspective we first focus on the shifts in timing, quantum and ordering of the main events of the life-course of young adults. Then, we aim at the analysis of their sequences to study the level of differentiation between cohorts: we adopt a measure of entropy in the economic independence trajectory and in the family formation trajectory and, then, we aim at distinguishing different paths to adulthood based on a cluster analysis. It emerges that across generations relevant shifts in the timings of the events occurred; the level of heterogeneity among most recent generations has increased due to the increase in incomplete trajectories, to the spread of cohabitations and, to some extent, to the decrease in the rigidity of the sequences, on one hand, and to the rise in temporary jobs, on the other hand. Moreover, the family background, particularly the social class of origin, plays an important role in shaping these trajectories. Men from the upper social class and the white collars follow a path in economic independence different from the others: below age 20 they have the lowest level of heterogeneity due to higher educational investment, while above age 20 they show a pretty higher heterogeneity. Women of upper social classes have similar trends. As for the family formation trajectory, very little differences among men below age 25, and differences increases by social status afterwards. Women of older birth cohorts were pretty dissimilar during their adolescence but, given their increasing participation in education, differences among cohorts have diminished.

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Presented in Poster Session 2