The Contemporary Family in France

Volume 5 of the series INED Population Studies pp 17-41


Changing Patterns of Transition to Adulthood

  • Pascal SebilleAffiliated withCentre de recherches sociologiques et politiques de Paris (Cresppa-GTM), Université Paris Ouest NanterreInstitut national d’études démographiques (INED) Email author 

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While contemporary sociological and demographic studies seem to confirm the idea that the transition to adulthood is occurring at an increasingly older age in France, they have not yet clearly determined what exactly is involved in this “passage” from youth to adulthood. Study of schooling and educational trajectories, family and occupational paths, and analysis of the interactions between them in individual life histories, provides a fresh perspective on transitions to adulthood and the complexity thereof. Completing education, finding a job, moving out of the parental home, entering a union and founding a family—all these events are interwoven in individual life histories, and sometimes challenge the various generational and social rationales. Are we seeing convergence in the ways men and women reach adulthood? Are today’s transition models characterized by greater social diversity than those of the past? This chapter presents an overall picture of the changes in the transition to adulthood that have occurred in France since the generations born in the late 1920s.


Transition Adulthood Family formation Youth