The timing of residential relocations and childbearing are strongly interrelated. An explanation for this association suggests that if homes and neighborhoods are not perceived as adequate for childrearing, couples will adjust either their residential situation or their family plans within the given financial resources of the household.
In my new research article titled “Fertility Intentions and Residential Relocations” (with Johannes Huinink and Michael Feldhaus), I shed more light on how relocations are related to fertility processes, in anticipating conceptions, by examining the association between fertility intentions and residential mobility (by relocation distance).
Using data from two birth cohorts (aged 24–28 and 34–38 in the first survey wave) of the German Family Panel (pairfam) and event history analysis, bivariate analyses show that coupled individuals relocated at a higher rate if they intended to have a(nother) child. We also find substantial heterogeneity according to individuals’ age and parental status, particularly for outside-town relocations. Childless individuals of average age at family formation—a highly mobile group—relocated at a lower rate if they intended to have a child. In contrast, older individuals who already had children—the least-mobile group—relocated at a higher rate if they intended to have another child. Multivariate analyses show that these associations are largely due to adjustments in housing and other living conditions.
Our results suggest that anticipatory relocations (before conception) to adapt to growing household size are importantly nuanced by the opportunities and rationales of couples to adjust their living conditions over the life course. Our research contributes to the understanding of residential mobility as a by-product of fertility decisions and, more broadly, evidences that intentions matter and need to be considered in the analysis of family life courses.
See more results here
Free e-offprint available here until mid-August 2017.