Fertility Intentions and Residential Relocations

This research addresses the question of whether fertility intentions (before conception) are associated with residential relocations and the distance of the relocation. We empirically tested this 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 showed that coupled individuals relocated at a higher rate if they intended to have a(nother) child. We found 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. Read more>