Residential Choice Following Separation and Widowhood among Midlife and Older Adults

Zuzana Zilincikova , UCLouvain
Isabel Palomares Linares, Population Research Centre, University of Groningen
Alyona Artamonova, National Research University Higher School of Economics
Maria Branden, Stockholm University and Linköping University
Christine Schnor , UCLouvain

It has been well documented that residential moves are connected to life events such as divorce or widowhood. However, much less is known about the residential choices that follow these events in middle and later life and how location of family members outside the household relates to these choices. Comparing the cases of Belgium and Sweden, we explore (i) to what extent (im)mobility after separation and widowhood is associated with the presence of older parents and adult children nearby; (ii) to what extent the choice of destination is associated with the location of older parents and adult children for those separated, widowed, and married individuals who migrated, and (iii) how these patterns vary among men and women. We answer these questions employing logistic regression models and discrete choice models fitted to Belgian and Swedish register data from 2012-2014. The preliminary results based on Belgian data showed that after widowhood and—even to a larger extent—separation, the location of parents plays a role of anchor, tying the index persons to their current residence, and of beacon, guiding migration. Having non-resident children nearby also deters migration but the role of a child’s location as a beacon differs by the index person’s gender and the type of experienced life event. Separated men, but not women, are unlikely to move towards their non-resident children. Further results from Sweden will allow us to compare the role of intergenerational ties in internal migration in different contexts.

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 Presented in Session 3. Spatial mobility over the life course