Volume 43 - Article 41 | Pages 1199–1234

Family changes and residential mobility among immigrant and native-born populations: Evidence from Swiss administrative data

By Julie Lacroix, Alain Gagnon, Philippe Wanner

Print this page  Facebook  Twitter


Date received:15 Oct 2019
Date published:05 Nov 2020
Word count:8011
Keywords:family transitions, immigration, life course, residential mobility


Background: Much of the literature on immigrant relocation has focused on human and social capital and has often ignored the role of life-course events as triggers of internal migration and residential mobility. We know that family transitions are closely tied to residential relocation, but the extent to which they might explain differential mobility patterns among immigrant and native-born populations is still largely unknown.

Objective: Using Swiss administrative registers and a nationally representative survey, we apply discrete-time logistic models to assess whether residential mobility responses to family changes differ between immigrant and native-born populations. We highlight various patterns of housing adjustment at times of childbirth, marriage (among cohabiting and non-cohabiting partners), and divorce. We also investigate the factors accounting for the differences between foreign- and native-born groups.

Contribution: The results suggest that residential mobility increases at times of childbirth, marriage, and divorce for both native- and foreign-born populations living in Switzerland. The results also suggest that the timing and intensity of residential changes in response to (or in anticipation of) family transitions differ across groups according to their birthplace. Compared to native-born residents, immigrants prove to be more residentially mobile at the time of marriage, owing to specific pre-marital cohabitation behaviours, but less residentially mobile at the time of childbirth, an event inherently linked to housing improvement. Household income was identified as an important mitigating factor within the joint processes of family changes and residential mobility. We argue that linking residential mobility to life-course events and statuses can serve as an alternative, dynamic marker of residential integration, preferences, and housing disadvantage among immigrant populations

Author's Affiliation

Julie Lacroix - Université de Genève, Switzerland [Email]
Alain Gagnon - Université de Montréal, Canada [Email]
Philippe Wanner - Université de Genève, Switzerland [Email]

Other articles by the same author/authors in Demographic Research

» Socioeconomic fertility differentials in a late transition setting: A micro-level analysis of the Saguenay region in Quebec
Volume 30 - Article 38

Most recent similar articles in Demographic Research

» Remain, leave, or return? Mothers’ location continuity after separation in Belgium
Volume 42 - Article 9    | Keywords: life course, residential mobility

» Changes in gender role attitudes following couples' residential relocations
Volume 40 - Article 39    | Keywords: life course, residential mobility

» Union formation and fertility amongst immigrants from Pakistan and their descendants in the United Kingdom: A multichannel sequence analysis
Volume 48 - Article 10    | Keywords: life course

» Solo living in the process of transitioning to adulthood in Europe: The role of socioeconomic background
Volume 48 - Article 3    | Keywords: life course

» Legal status and health disparities: An examination of health insurance coverage among the foreign-born
Volume 47 - Article 16    | Keywords: immigration