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The life course of the young in the 21st century: risks for increasing inequality?

The project ‘The life course of the young in the 21st century: risks for increasing inequality?’ examines factors that could lead to increasing differences in future life courses between the young people of today. The project is carried out as part of the National Science Agenda (NWA) and is financed by the Royal Nether­lands Academy of Arts and Sciences (KNAW).

Due to structural trends such as the rise in life expectancy, increasingly flexible labor markets and intensified blending of work and private life, the ‘design’ of the life course is subject to change. On average young people are expected to live longer, experience greater uncertainty on the labor market and combine work with care-taking responsibilities for a larger parts of their life. However, it is still unclear what these overall changes will mean for young people from different social groups.

This interdisciplinary project will combine three different approaches to study the opportunities that young people from different social backgrounds experience to shape their own life course. We will adopt (a):

  • Demographic perspective
    A prospective simulation model will provide insights into the timing and intensity of transitions between different life phases for the 21st century.
  • The employer's perspective
    Qualitative data from employers will provide insight in their perceived role in shaping life course opportunities for the young.
  • The young worker’s perspective
    Representative survey data will answer questions related to how young people themselves think, feel and act with regards to life course decisions and opportunities in terms of work, care and education.

The project is executed by: Lin Rouvroye MSc (PhD project), Dr. Michaël Boissonneault (Post-doc project), Prof. Dr. Kène Henkens, Prof. Dr. Harry van Dalen, Dr. Joop de Beer, Prof. Dr. Joop Schippers (UU).

We aim to collaborate with and disseminate the results of the project to external stakeholders.

Research Team

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