This paper investigates whether parental separation increases the likelihood of becoming homeless for disadvantaged households. Previous studies have only provided descriptive evidence for the general population suggesting that parental separations relate to reductions in housing quality and stability. Using a unique dataset of disadvantaged Australians who provide retrospective information on parental separation and housing circumstances, we examine transitions into homelessness following parental separation. Accounting for observed as well as unobserved family and individual characteristics, and exploiting the timing of events, we show that parental separation significantly increases the likelihood of experiencing homelessness among children under the age of 12. For older children, parental separation increases the likelihood of boys becoming homeless, but not girls.

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European Economic Review
Erasmus School of Economics

Moschion, J., & van Ours, J. (2018). Do childhood experiences of parental separation lead to homelessness?. European Economic Review, 111, 211–236. doi:10.1016/j.euroecorev.2018.09.005