Overcrowded Housing and Relationship Break-up

  • Maike van DammeEmail author


To what extent is there an association between crowding and relationship break-up? And if so, is it a causal relationship? Housing space may affect the probability of separation because of stress, lower subjective well being, and poor mental health, any of which could put pressure on the relationship with the partner and eventually cause a break-up. Using the Luxembourgish PSELL 2003–2011, we operationalize crowding with a subjective measure. We check for the following confounding factors: financial difficulties, home ownership, nationality, and type of household member. We find that there is no significant association between crowding and separation once confounders are taken into account, not to mention causality. Instead, home ownership turns out to be of the utmost importance in explaining the bivariate association between crowding and union dissolution.


Divorce Housing Crowding Spuriousness Union dissolution 



I would like to thank Matthias Kuepie and Laureen Vanni for their help with the data at various stages of the data manipulation and analyses. I would also like to thank Stéfanie André, Marie-Sophie Callens, Alessio Fusco, Amparo Nagore Garcia, Julien Licheron, Andrea Mercatanti, Javier Oliviera, and Alex Theloudis for their valuable comments and suggestions.


The author did not receive any funding for this study.

Compliance with Ethical Standards

Conflict of interest

The author declares that she has no conflict of interest.


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© Springer Nature B.V. 2019

Authors and Affiliations

  1. 1.Department of Political and Social SciencesUniversitat Pompeu FabraBarcelonaSpain

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