The Transition to Parenthood Among Britain's "Generation Rent": Examining the Changing Role of Housing Tenure

Ann Berrington, University of Southampton
Valentina Tocchioni, University of Florence
Daniele Vignoli, University of Florence
Agnese Vitali, University of Southampton

A positive link between homeownership and fertility is usually presumed. Nevertheless, couples’ preferences to become homeowners before having their first child has been undermined by the dramatic changes in the UK housing market over recent decades. In Britain in particular, home-ownership rates have fallen dramatically among young adults as a result of low wages, precarious employment, reductions in the availability of mortgage credit, lack of affordable homes, and rising house prices. Using prospective longitudinal data from the 18 waves of British Household Panel Survey (1991-2008) and the seven waves of the United Kingdom Household Longitudinal Survey (2009-2016) on a sample of women aged 18-42 and applying multilevel discrete-time event-history techniques, we investigate whether and how the link between housing tenure and timing of first births has changed over recent decades in UK, and whether the link is moderated by local area characteristics including housing markets. As a result, from 1991 to 2016 the probability of conceiving the first child has slightly decreased into homeownership, whereas it has increased in giving birth in private rented accommodation. Increasingly, young people remain in insecure private rented accommodation even during the process of family formation and parenthood.

Presented in Session 61: Transition to Parenthood