Holistic housing pathways for Australian families through the childbearing years

Melanie Spallek, Michele Haynes, Andrew Jones


For the previous generation, the typical housing tenure pathway in Australia was more clearly defined, with young adults leaving the family home to marry and experience the birth of the first child while residing in a rental home, before entry into home ownership. For the first time in Australia, longitudinal data is available that allows the examination of housing tenure transitions along with other life events, in particular the birth of children, marital transitions and changes in employment. Sequences of tenure transitions and life events were derived for a large sample of individuals using ten waves of data (2001-2010) from the longitudinal Household Income and Labour Dynamics in Australia (HILDA) survey, with a focus on families with children or of childbearing age. The statistical method of multi-channel sequence analysis was used to identify a typology of housing pathways from these data sequences. Half of all individuals in the sample do not experience any transitions in housing tenure status during the period of the survey and these people record notably fewer transitions in marital status. The main typologies identified were related to transitioning into home ownership, with the birth of a child occurring either before or after the transition. Previously, some individuals also entered home ownership before the birth of their first child rather than after, but it was not acknowledged as a major housing pathway as it is now. In this study, the majority of housing tenure and life event sequences showed that individuals were already married by the time of transitioning into home ownership. Pathways are now more diverse with transitions into home ownership often occurring both before and after the birth of a child, with marriage preceding the decision to buy a home.


Housing tenure, pathways, sequence analysis, multi-channel, life course, family, children, longitudinal survey data

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DOI: http://dx.doi.org/10.14301/llcs.v5i2.276

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