Living Arrangements of Middle-Aged and Older People in Estonia under Societal Change: Findings from Four Censuses 1979–2011

Anne Herm , Tallinn University
Liili Abuladze, 1) Estonian Institute for Population Studies, Tallinn University, 2) Population Research Institute, Väestöliitto
Michel Poulain, Tallinn University (TLU) / Universite catholique de Louvain (UCLouvain)
Allan Puur, Tallinn University

This study intends to identify changes that occurred in living arrangements of middle-aged and older people from the end of state socialism to the most recent period in Estonia. Estonia is distinguished for a very high proportion of middle-aged and older persons living alone and with adult children and low share of couples. Since the 1990s possibilities to choose how to organize one's personal life, including the availability of housing, the choice of place of residence and moving across state borders, have changed in Estonia. The main research question is how societal transformations modified living arrangement of middle-aged and older adults. We use individual-level microdata from four Estonian censuses – 1979, 1989, 2000 and 2011 – for compiling a comparable typology of living arrangements across time. About half of the Estonian population aged 50+ were living with their partner and about third with child(ren). The share of these living arrangements were bigger in 1989 compared with 1979. However, that situation turned to a change and at the next censuses (2000 and 2011) the proportion of middle–aged and older people living with child(ren) decreased strongly, with a more pronounced decline after age 70. For younger age groups, it was counterbalanced by an increase in the proportion of individuals living with their partner only, and in later ages increasingly by those living alone.

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 Presented in Session P1. Poster Session Fertility, Family and the Life Course