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Housing advantage? The role of student renting in the constitution of housing biographies in the United Kingdom

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JournalJournal of Youth Studies
DatePublished - Mar 2004
Issue number1
Volume7
Number of pages15
Pages (from-to)19-34
Original languageEnglish

Abstract

Research on young people leaving the parental home has tended to focus most closely on charting and explaining the age at which young people leave, and exploring the incidence of returning after a period of living either 'semi-autonomously' or independently. The majority of these studies have been quantitative and fairly static in approach. This paper develops an approach to the topic that is more qualitative in its orientation and that views housing biographies as essentially dynamic. Using primary data from the United Kingdom, the paper constructs five 'ideal' typical housing pathways followed by young people: a chaotic pathway, and unplanned pathway, a constrained pathway, a planned (non-student) pathway, and a student pathway. The paper then gives particular consideration to the characteristics of the student pathway, and compares the experience of students studying away from the parental home with the long-term housing biographies of their non-student peers. The paper concludes that the typical student housing experience—including a supervised leaving of the parental home and a 'sheltered' spell in the private rented sector—constitutes an essential education in housing that enhances the housing and labour opportunities of graduates compared with other young people who have not studied away from the parental home.

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