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Working paper

Becoming an adult in France, Estonia and Russia

The aim of this study is to compare the sociodemographic events marking the transition to adulthood in France, Estonia and Russia: first leaving parents, completion of education, first partnership, first marriage and first childbirth. We used the first waves of the Generations and Gender Survey for these three countries and an advanced method – Sequence Analysis. According to the Second Demographic Transition Theory, we expected a convergence in the sequencing, timing and tempo of the occurrence of target events. The results showed the slow convergence of sequences, but not of timing and tempo. Estonia and Russia are still close in the timing of the occurrence of events, but in tempo Estonia and France are more alike. The ages at which people start families in Estonia and Russia have decreased in younger generations in comparison with older ones, despite our expectation that they would increase. For the youngest generation (1970s), the time between leaving parents and becoming a parent is 5-7 years in France, 4-6 years in Estonia and 2-3 years in Russia. The sociodemographic behaviour of Estonians clearly positions them between Europe and Russia. Thus, the comparison of France, Estonia and Russia only partially confirms the Second Demographic Transition Theory.