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Feathered nest/gilded cage: Parental income and leaving home in the transition to adulthood


The growing study of leaving home in young adulthood in the United States has been hampered by data and measurement problems, which are producing a major theoretical confusion about the role of parental resources in influencing young adults’ leaving home. Does high parental income retain young adults in the home or subsidize their leaving (and parental privacy)? This paper uses the 1984 panel of Survey of Income and Program Participation to clarify this issue, and shows that the effects of parental resources differ depending on the route out of the home under consideration (marriage or premarital residential independence). Effects change substantially over the nest-leaving ages, but relatively few differences are found between young men and young women.

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An earlier version of this paper was presented in the session “Transition to Adulthood” at the annual meeting of the Population Association of America, held in Toronto in 1990. This research was supported by Joint Statistical Agreement 88-14 with the U.S. Bureau of the Census.

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Avery, R., Goldscheider, F. & Speare, A. Feathered nest/gilded cage: Parental income and leaving home in the transition to adulthood. Demography 29, 375–388 (1992). https://doi.org/10.2307/2061824

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  • Young Adult
  • Living Arrangement
  • Current Population Survey
  • Parental Income
  • Parental Home