Youth Residential Situation in the Transition to Adulthood: The Case of Serbia (An Exploratory Approach)
Keywords:residential situation, housing, young people, transition to adulthood, Serbia
Research undertaken on housing and youth to date primarily focus on those at the very bottom of the social ladder. Nonetheless, a large percentage of youth population around the world is facing a crisis in terms of achieving residential autonomy. This paper attempts to illustrate the possibilities and obstacles that prevent youth from achieving residential independence in Serbia. The data collected in this exploratory study conducted in 2014, on a sample of 312 respondents, is used to analyze some of the most important structural factors (job market, education, financial situation and access to the housing market) in order to assess both current situation and the possible prospects of the youth housing issue in the country. Serbia, as most Southern European countries, has a 'Mediterranean' model of transition to adulthood, which is characterized by great reliance on the family of origin. It has been observed by respondents to this study that the most represented living arrangement was living with parents and that even older cohorts (30 to 35 years old) in most cases continued living with their family of origin to date. As our findings indicate, youth from the sample perceived this residential arrangement more as a consequence of poor financial situation and lack of cheap housing, rather than a desirable choice. It is difficult to predict if there will be significant improvements in the housing affordability or job market situation for youth, therefore the prospect of achieving residential independency for generations to come will remain tremendously challenging. Investigating existing and defining new strategies, in both the family and broader society contexts, is an important task for future research on accessibility of housing and youth residential situation advancement given the importance of this factor in the transition to adulthood.
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