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Housing and subjective well-being of older adults in Europe

Abstract

Housing quality is known to be related to subjective well-being (SWB), but much less is known how this relationship varies with national contexts. This study addresses the association between housing tenure and housing quality on the one hand and the SWB of older Europeans on the other, given the differences in housing markets across Europe. Data from the Survey of Health, Ageing and Retirement in Europe were used, and linear regression models of SWB were estimated for 16 European countries. The findings indicate that being a renter is negatively related to SWB, while having a large house is positively associated with it. The negative effect of being a renter on SWB is small in several countries with accessible and well-regulated rental markets. Moreover, the difference in SWB between older people with a small and a large dwelling is somewhat smaller in countries with a high level of housing quality than in countries with lower housing quality. For each of our housing indicators, however, we also found countries for which the findings deviated from the general pattern. The findings imply that housing-market characteristics matter to how housing relates to SWB and, therefore, that housing-market interventions might affect this relationship.

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Acknowledgments

This paper uses data from SHARE wave 4 release 1.1.1, as of 28 March 2013(DOI: 10.6103/SHARE.w4.111). The SHARE data collection has been primarily funded by the European Commission through the 5th Framework Programme (project QLK6-CT-2001-00360 in the thematic programme Quality of Life), through the 6th Framework Programme (projects SHARE-I3, RII-CT-2006-062193, COMPARE, CIT5- CT-2005-028857, and SHARELIFE, CIT4-CT-2006-028812) and through the 7th Framework Programme (SHARE-PREP, N° 211909, SHARE-LEAP, N° 227822 and SHARE M4, N° 261982). Additional funding from the US National Institute on Aging (U01 AG09740-13S2, P01 AG005842, P01 AG08291, P30 AG12815, R21 AG025169, Y1-AG-4553-01, IAG BSR06-11 and OGHA 04-064) and the German Ministry of Education and Research as well as from various national sources is gratefully acknowledged (see www.share-project.org for a full list of funding institutions).

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Correspondence to Daniël J. Herbers.

Appendices

Appendix 1

See Table 4.

Table 4 Frequencies and averages by country, other explanatory variables

Appendix 2

See Table 5.

Table 5 Parameters for control variables in linear regression of SWB for all countries separately

Appendix 3: Test for equality of regression coefficients

See Tables 6, 7 and 8.

Table 6 Differences between renters and outright homeowners
Table 7 Differences between outright homeowners and mortgage holders
Table 8 Differences between 1 and 2 rooms and 6+ rooms

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Herbers, D.J., Mulder, C.H. Housing and subjective well-being of older adults in Europe. J Hous and the Built Environ 32, 533–558 (2017). https://doi.org/10.1007/s10901-016-9526-1

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Keywords

  • Well-being
  • Ageing
  • Housing
  • Cross-national research
  • Housing tenure
  • Housing quality