How far do children move? Spatial distances after leaving the parental home

Sebastian Pink, University of Bamberg
Thomas Leopold, University of Bamberg
Ferdinand Geißler, University of Bamberg

This research used geocoded data from 10 waves (2000 – 2009) of the German Socio-economic Panel Study to investigate the spatial distances of young adults' initial move-outs (N = 1,986). Linear regression models predicted moving distances by factors at individual, family, household, and community level. Overall, home leavers moved across strikingly small distances with a median value of less than 10 kilometers. Greater distances were found for well-educated and childless home leavers who moved out from high-income households at relatively early ages. The effect of young adults' education was moderated by the district’s degree of urbanization, supporting the brain drain assertion. In line with developmental models of migration, young adults stayed closer if the parental household was still located at their place of childhood. We conclude that the prevalence of short-distance moves challenges the pervasive notion of leaving home as a "milestone" in young adults' lives.

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Presented in Poster Session 3

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