Interrelationships between housing transitions and fertility in Britain and Australia

Period of funding: October 2010 – March 2014

Housing transitions - such as changes in housing tenure, residential mobility - are the outcomes of a complex history of other life course events such as union formation and dissolution, births of children, and changes in employment. The principal aim of this project was to examine the extent to which housing transitions and residential location choice are influenced by fertility outcomes such as the birth of a(nother) child or a child reaching primary or secondary school age, allowing for the effects of other social processes such as union formation and dissolution and employment changes. Another aim of the project was to explore spatial variation in fertility by residential context, distinguishing rural areas and different size urban areas, and the effects of area characteristics on mobility and location choice. In addition, we examined housing market effects on residential mobility and fertility.

The project also investigated a number of important methodological issues in the analysis of household panel data. Methodological research considered different approaches to the analysis of household-level decisions using longitudinal individual-level data when household composition changes over time, adjustment for unmeasured individual characteristics that affect both changes in housing and changes in fertility, non-ignorable attrition when drop-out is directly influenced by moving home, and estimation of push and pull effects of area characteristics in residential location choice.

The primary data source for the project was the British Household Panel Survey (BHPS). Research by the Australian team used the Household, Income and Labour Dynamics in Australia (HILDA) survey.