Does cohort size matter to residential mobility? The case of Barcelona's central city

Antonio López-Gay, Universitat Autònoma de Barcelona
Clara H. Mulder, University of Groningen
Juan Antonio Módenes, Universitat Autònoma de Barcelona

Following up Easterlin’s arguments about the impact of cohort size on demographic issues, the paper aims to explore the implications of cohort size in the specific context of residential mobility. The research is based on the case of the inner city of Barcelona. There are three elements that make this case study relevant. First, fertility decline was extraordinary fast in Spain. That produced big size differences among cohorts born within a short period of time. Second, the intensity of residential mobility in Spain is low and very concentrated in the household formation ages. This characteristic emphasizes the importance of cohort size in terms of competition: after members of large cohorts have moved they no longer cause a strong pressure on the housing market. And third, the territorial and the housing market characteristics of Barcelona’s urban core. The urban fabric of Barcelona’s inner city is extremely saturated and few units have been added to the housing market since 1970. The paper looks for differences in patterns of residential behavior between baby-boom and baby-bust cohorts in two main aspects: the calendar of the residential movements and the territorial distribution within the Metropolitan Area of the individuals moving from the central city. According to the literature, large cohorts face greater competition than small cohorts in multiple aspects and the housing market is included among them. Thus, it is expected that boomers will move later and farther than smaller cohorts. The study relies on annual relocation data covering the period 2000-2010, which not only allow us to track the pathways of boomers and busters through the ages of higher mobility, but also to identify the impact of the economic crisis on their residential behavior.

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Presented in Session 54: Family and residential migration