MPIDR Working Paper

Formation and realisation of moving intentions across the adult life course

Dommermuth, L., Klüsener, S.
MPIDR Working Paper WP-2017-006, 27 pages.
Rostock, Max Planck Institute for Demographic Research (March 2017)
Open Access


In the theoretical discussion on migration and moving behaviour, it is frequently argued that life course events such as the birth of a child or entry into retirement can act as potential triggers for moving decisions. However, in order to fully understand moving behaviour, it is important to examine not just people’s actual life course and moving events, but also their prior plans, as not all life course intentions and potentially related moving intentions are realised. In this paper, we analyse representative data for Norway that provide us with a rare opportunity to study these issues empirically. For the purposes of our study, we linked information from the Norwegian Generations and Gender Survey (GGS) with follow-up data from the Norwegian population register. The GGS is a representative life course survey that covers the adult population of Norway. It provides rich information on intentions in a broad range of life domains. In our multivariate analyses, we distinguish three life phases: the young adult phase, the family phase, and the retirement phase. Our outcomes confirm existing findings that moving intentions are highly predictive of subsequent behaviour. For all three life phases, we obtain highly significant associations between intentions in various life domains and moving intentions. In line with the theoretical framework, we find that the relationship between these intentions and subsequent moving behaviour is relatively weak, while the subsequent occurrence of life course events is more strongly related to actual moves.

Keywords: Norway, decision making, life cycle, migration, migration determinants, residential mobility
The Max Planck Institute for Demographic Research (MPIDR) in Rostock is one of the leading demographic research centers in the world. It's part of the Max Planck Society, the internationally renowned German research society.