Proximity of Couples to Each Partner’s Parents: Influences of Gender, Labour Market, and Family

John Ermisch, University of Oxford
Tak Wing Chan, University of Oxford

The analysis uses data from a large national representative household survey from the United Kingdom to study how close each ‘middle-aged’ (aged 31-54) partner in couples lives to their own and their partner’s parents and what factors influence proximity to each set of parents. We find a slight tendency for couples to live closer to the woman’s parents than the man’s. Using a diagonal reference model, each partner’s education has an equal influence on proximity to parents, with better educated couples living farther from their parents. Certain family circumstances tip the balance toward location nearer to one set of parents than the other. The presence of children shifts location nearer to the woman’s parent, while being an only-child favours location nearer to that partner’s own parents. We conclude that proximity to parents is primarily driven by factors that affect mobility over long distances, as opposed to gender or family circumstances.

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Presented in Session 56: Intergenerational Relations