Single households and household change 1971-1991

Malcolm Williams, University of Plymouth and Brian Dodgeon, Institute of Education

[Project number 10346]

The number of single-person households has increased throughout Europe (Kaufman, 1994). This has implications for the analysis of family practices (Morgan, 1996) and for understanding family life in the UK (Scott, 1997). It also raises questions in relation to government policies that seek to strengthen family life (Supporting Families, 1998). The information gained from the proposed LS study will be used to develop a research programme to explore the implications of living alone for family practices, in particular the experience of health and illness, access to health care and social support. We will also explore the relationship between household structure and lifecycle in respect of gender, housing circumstances and limiting long term illness. The household structure algorithm that will be used was developed for LS use by Malcolm Williams and Angela Dale in 2002 and some housing analyses are reported in Dale et al (1996).

The proposed research is principally descriptive at this stage and will provide aggregate data on household change through LS member's life cycle. It is intended that the research would be supplemented by 2001 data and further LS analyses would be incorporated into a main project.

This project aims:

1) To establish the type of LS member household in 1971 and to ascertain how this had changed by 1981 by age bands, gender and tenure.

2) To establish the type of LS member household in 1981 and to ascertain how this had changed by 1991 by age bands, gender.

3) To compare these two cohorts cross-sectionally.

4) To establish the type of LS member household in 1971 by age cohort and gender and ascertain the household structure of these cohorts by 1981 and 1991.

5) To establish incidence of limiting long term illness in those enumerated as single person households in one or more census.

Dale, A, Williams, M and Dodgeon, B (1996) Housing Deprivation and Social Change. London: HMSO
Kaufman, J. (1994) One person households in Europe. Population 49 (4-5) Morgan, D (1996) Family Connections. Cambridge: Cambridge University Press
Scott, J (1997) Changing households in Britain: do families still matter? Sociological Review, 45 (4)
Supporting families: a consultatiuon document (1998) Home Office Report, The Stationery Office

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