Housing quality and welfare regimes: does householder’s age matter?

Julián López-Colás, Centre d’Estudis Demogràfics (CED)
Juan A. Módenes, Universitat Autònoma de Barcelona
Brenda Yépez-Martínez, Universidad Central de Venezuela

In recent years an interesting literature has been developed that links different types of European welfare systems to the territorial organization of housing systems. Many contributions have focused on two aspects of housing systems: tenure (rent v. property), i.e. access to housing, and housing type (single-family v. multi-family), i.e. the morphology of the dwelling. Our submission points to another housing dimension, housing quality, but it adds a demographic perspective in order to analyze the heterogeneity introduced by the stage of the household’s life cycle. Taking as spatial framework a classification of European countries according to welfare regimes (extended to a Mediterranean and Eastern Europe), we have analyzed if quality parameters are sensitive to the householder’s age, and we will eventually identify a quality cross-sectional path throughout the life cycle. A comparative approach is proposed, thus we have picked up some countries that are representative of welfare regimes: Germany (corporatist), Norway (social democratic), the UK (liberal), Poland (East Europe), Spain (Mediterranean). The research strategy is set to confirm firstly that the possible sensitivity of quality parameters to age depends on the country studied, and therefore, that there is some relation to the welfare system they belong to. In second place, we would like to confirm that the variation of housing quality over the age also is influenced by other housing characteristics such as housing tenure or housing type , as well as by household’s income. Data belong to the EU-SILC 2007 edition which allows us to use its special module on housing. Main results show a more direct relationship of housing quality to the life cycle in the countries of north-western Europe, while the way households access housing has a more lasting influence on dwelling quality in the Mediterranean and eastern Europe countries.

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Presented in Poster Session 2