The influence of union dissolution on former couples’ residential mobility in Germany from 1997 to 2007

Lénaïg Le Berre, Université catholique de Louvain

The family structures have changed since the 1970’s in Europe. Divorce (or union dissolution) is becoming a more frequent event, as well as new couple formation (Prioux, 2006). As many other family events, these changes have consequences on mobility. In social sciences little attention has been given to residential mobility of separate persons (Feijten and Van Ham, 2007). Actually, few surveys are well-adapted to analyze the interaction between union dissolution and residential mobility. The longitudinal perspective enables to study these phenomena by lifecourse over a long period of time. In this study, we use the German Socio-Economic Panel (GSOEP) - the GSOEP is a longitudinal survey on households and individuals who are living in Germany - to answer these questions : - Is union dissolution an increasing reason for moving ? - Are members of the former couple forced to move away from their common surrounding (for financial reasons, etc.) ? - Do these phenomena involve casualization and impoverishment ? - What are the characteristics of their new environment (neighborhood, etc.) ? - Does union dissolution involve several moves and difficulties to find a spatial stability ? Cross-sectional preliminary results suggest that the divorced and separated proportions increased more than other categories between 1997 and 2007 (from 8.5 to 10 % respectively) – we must be precautious because of the cumulative effects but the panel has been refreshed and extended, and the studied events are repeatable –. Furthermore, besides ‘job reasons’, ‘separation’ seems to be an increasing reason for moving (from 7.2 in 1997 to 9.7 % in 2006 of the whole households' moves). As survey files are organized cross-sectionally for both households and individuals data, we have built up a longitudinal database by merging the files (waves from 1997 to 2007) to continue our study and complete these first results.

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Presented in Session 9: Internal migration, regional and urban issues