Do You Move when Your Partner Passes Away? A Longitudinal Study of Residential Mobility after the Death of a Spouse.

Aske Egsgaard , University of Copenhagen
Cecilie Dohlmann Weatherall, Kraks Fond – Institute for Urban Economic Research

The effects of an aging population have seen much debate in recent years, not least how the demographic changes will influence intermigration and demand for housing in the future? One aspect of this that haven’t yet seen much attention in the academic literature is the subject of widow’s residential mobility in the period subsequent to their transition into widowhood. This is the case despite that the aging population in most Western countries will mean that there will be an increase of potential widows while at the same time it is becoming even harder to find accommodation within many urban areas. By using a panel of very detailed micro data on individuals from 1980 to 2016 we can identify widows, whose partner have recently died, and a control group of individuals living together as couples, examine the relationship between widows, intermigration and changes in demand for housing over time. We find that widows have a higher likelihood to move in the first years following the loss of a partner compared to people who haven’t lost a partner. Furthermore, we find that widows are more likely to downsize when moving to a new residence and that women are more likely to move to a municipality where they have adult children whereas men are more likely to move to a nursing home.

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 Presented in Session 60. Urbanization and Mortality