Single Young Professionals and Shared Household Living
The interface between labour market commitment, shared household living, and the maintenance of couple relationships amongst graduates and young professionals in their twenties and early thirties is explored. Following a discussion of the growth of independent living amongst this group and some of the factors that have led to this trend, evidence is presented from a study of relatively affluent sharers living in the south of England. Perceptions of labour market mobility, preferences for independent living and the negotiation of couple relationships across households are all considered. Shared living appears to be particularly suited to young adults who are strongly committed to the labour market: it is a flexible household form, but one which can provide 'professional standard' accommodation as well as ready access to a social life for time-constrained and geographically mobile employees. The presence of other household members, however, is both its greatest weakness and its greatest strength, at best providing close emotional support for members conducting couple relationships under adverse conditions, at worst placing additional pressures on these already strained relationships.