Pathways, background and outcomes of the transition to adulthood in the early 2000s in Hungary

  • Lívia Murinkó


In the present paper, we analyze the process of the transition to adulthood in contemporary Hungary. We identify typical pathways, describe them in terms of role transitions, as well as regarding their socio-economic and family background and various outcomes. In order to do so, we regard the transition to adulthood as a multi-dimensional and dynamic process. Using longitudinal data from four waves of the Hungarian Generations and Gender Survey (2001–2012), we apply the method of two-step latent class analysis to study the 1981–1983 birth cohort between ages 18–20 and 29–31. Our results indicate that the transitory period between adolescence and adulthood can be characterized by quite different role configurations. Four different pathways were identified. The most common one is characterized by prolonged education and delayed family formation (51%). Every fourth young person become employed early and form their own family late (24%), while 17% belongs to the early family formation group. Interestingly, the pathway that resembles a standard, linear model of transition to adulthood the most (rapid family formation after prolonged education) is the least frequent (9%). The four different pathways differ regarding their background and outcomes. Our results suggest that both becoming independent “too early” and “being stuck” in the postadolescent life phase may be associated with social disadvantage and they contribute to the transmission of social disadvantage across generations. Contrastingly, following the pathway of rapid family formation after prolonged education is a kind of “social privilege” and often leads to the most advantageous socio-economic status and wellbeing at around age 30.