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Household diversity and migration in mid-life: Understanding residential mobility among 45-64 year olds in Melbourne, Australia

Lookup NU author(s): Professor Anthony Champion


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This paper focuses on the residential mobility of middle-aged persons, not yet retired, an understudied cohort in mobility research. From the 1950s to the 1980s, mobility studies pointed to mid-life as a settled stage in terms of family, work and housing. Recent demographic and social changes, however, have led to these years being typified by a wide gamut of living arrangements that have complicated decisions about, and patterns of, residential mobility. Using the life-course perspective, this paper suggests that the transition to 'empty nester' status will heighten mobility among this group of middle-aged persons relative to their counterparts in other living arrangements. The analysis uses a customised migration matrix from the Australian 2006 Census and identifies segments of 45-64 year olds most likely to have changed address since the previous group, empty nest status conferred a 13 percentage point 'mobility premium' compared with couples that still had children at home. The results contribute to a better understanding of housing consumption among mid-life households and broader debates on access to affordable housing and processes of urban growth. © 2009 John Wiley & Sons, Ltd.

Publication metadata

Author(s): Wulff M, Champion A, Lobo M

Publication type: Article

Publication status: Published

Journal: Population, Space and Place

Year: 2010

Volume: 16

Issue: 4

Pages: 307-321

ISSN (print): 1544-8444

ISSN (electronic): 1544-8452

Publisher: John Wiley & Sons Ltd.


DOI: 10.1002/psp.553


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