Housing and Gender Inequalities in Mobility
Against the background of the increase in family dissolution and the corresponding rise of single-person and lone-parent households, Thomas et al. (2017) explore moves related to separation among families with children. Using British Household Panel Survey data, they show that significant gender differences exist, with fathers more likely to leave the family home than mothers, and mothers less likely to give up being close to family when starting a new cohabiting relationship. Individual preferences seem to have little influence: Fathers who preferred to stay in the home still are more likely to leave, and mothers that preferred to leave the home still are more likely to stay. Aside from parental preferences to avoid further disruptions for the children, institutional and geographical contexts also seem to play a role: In the social housing sector, a combination of rules of access, laws on the protection of children’s wellbeing and the overrepresentation of women as caregivers seem to encourage even greater disparities between mothers and fathers. In particularly expensive housing market contexts it becomes more likely for both parents to move out of the former joint home. The authors emphasise that it is crucial to further explore the importance of housing in relation to gender inequalities in mobility to develop more realistic explanations of modern (im)mobility patterns and processes.