Family Geography and Family Demography in the UK: Cross-Sectional Perspective
Published: Jun 2013

In this paper, we study geographic proximity between parents and adult children using data from a large and nationally representative household survey from the United Kingdom. Our goal is to describe the contributions to family geography of several demographic trends in British society. We show that residential mobility over the life course tends to increase the distance between the two generations. There are also large differences in intergenerational proximity between the foreign born and UK born, and among ethnic groups. We then test a number of hypotheses on how proximity varies with 'stable'demographic attributes of individuals, i.e. those which usually do not change after one's early 30s. Our evidence is consistent with three long-term trends operating to increase intergenerational geographical distance: declining fertility, more divorce, and rising educational attainment. Contrary to some earlier studies, proximity does not vary with the existence or number of siblings of the adult child.

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