Spatial mobility and its associations with family development and subjective well-being

Heiko RĂ¼ger, Federal Institute for Population Research (BiB)
Norbert F. Schneider, Federal Institute for Population Research (BiB)

High degrees of work-related commuting and relocation are central features of contemporary societies. Therefore, research on the relationship between mobility and family life is getting more and more important for our understanding of family formation and household structures. In this paper, we introduce the notion of spatial mobility to widen our understanding of living arrangements. Phenomena like residential multi-locality or living-apart-together increasingly question the classical concept of the household that is based on the idea of co-residence. Especially work-related mobility requirements are expected to lead to a further proliferation of what we call mobile living arrangements. Mobile living arrangements can be understood as complex organization of everyday life that has incorporated mobility requirements. Starting with the examination of the prevalence of mobile living arrangements in six European countries the paper focuses on the analysis of the associations between mobility and family development and mobility and subjective well-being. Possible differences by gender and parenthood are also examined. Implications for practice and policy will be discussed. The data come from the first wave of the study "Job Mobilities and Family Lives in Europe", a representative survey focused on the spread, the causes and the consequences of work-related spatial mobility carried out in 2007 among 7,220 persons aged between 25 and 54 years in France, Germany, Spain, Poland, Belgium, and Switzerland.

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 Presented in Session 42. Well-being and family environment