Fertility Intentions and Residential Relocations
Published online: 11 July 2017
Population Association of America 2017
Abstract 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 indi-
viduals’ 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.
Keywords Fertility intentions
Demography (2017) 54:1305–1330
Electronic supplementary material The online version of this article (doi:10.1007/s13524-017-0592-0)
contains supplementary material, which is available to authorized users.
* Sergi Vidal
Life Course Centre & Institute for Social Science Research, The University of Queensland,
Research Center on Inequality and Social Policy, Bremen University, Bremen, Germany
Institute for Social Sciences, Oldenburg University, Oldenburg, Germany