Mothers' mobility after separation: do grandmothers matter?

Marjolijn Das, Statistics Netherlands
Helga A. G. de Valk, Netherlands Interdisciplinary Demographic Institute (NIDI) and Vrije Universiteit Brussel
Eva-Maria Merz, Netherlands Interdisciplinary Demographic Institute (NIDI)

Starting from a life course perspective this study aims to gain more insight in mobility patterns of recently separated mothers, focusing especially on moves to the location of their own mother: the maternal grandmother. Separated mothers may benefit from practical and emotional support of their mother. Also, the grandparents’ home can be a (temporary) place to stay shortly after divorce. Data come from the Social Statistical Database of Statistics Netherlands. This unique dataset combines longitudinal data from a vast number of administrative registers. It covers the complete Dutch population making it exceptionally well suited for life course research, including spatial patterns. We study mobility of all mothers with minor children for two years, starting from 2008 up until 2010. Our study includes 600 thousand mothers of which about 9 thousand (1.5%) experienced a separation in 2008. Separated mothers moved to the grandmother’s municipality selectively more often than non-separated mothers, which seems to be partially motivated by the need for child care. Separated mothers also coresided with the grandmother more than non-separated. Most of the coresiders had a vulnerable socio-economic position. Although coresidence was often temporary, it appears to have a prolonged impact on the mothers’ location choice since mothers frequently stayed in the grandmother’s municipality after moving out of the parental home. Finally, some mothers seemed to use the parental home as a stepping stone and moved on to cohabit with a new partner.

  See paper

Presented in Session 49: Separation and divorce