Économie et Statistique n° 349-350 - 2001The European panel: a new statistical source on households
Employment, Housing and Residential Mobility
Migration is often perceived as a way for workers to take advantage of employment opportunities on local labour markets generally located far from their initial place of residence. Yet employment is not the only factor influencing migration decisions, especially where short-distance migrations are concerned. Housing-related reasons, significant events in the life cycle and lifestyle elements (physical and relational environment) can also affect residential mobility. The effect of these factors differs depending on the distance separating the point of departure from the destination. Short-distance moves (moving within the commune) hence need to be differentiated from longer distance moves (moves from one commune and especially one département to another). Housing-related reasons come top of the list in the case of the shortest distances and professional reasons are uppermost in decisions regarding the longest distances. Although housing is an important motive independent of age in moves between communes, professional reasons are rarely mentioned by the over-45s. This is because lifestyle becomes entrenched as a predominant motive for decisions above the age of 45. For heads of household, being a homeowner or public housing tenant (rather than a private housing tenant) and being of foreign origin all go hand in hand with low mobility between communes. On the other hand, inter-commune migration is fostered by a high level of education and the feeling of being financially well off. However, qualifications, country of origin and resources have no effect on short-distance residential mobility whereas housing occupancy status still influences this type of move. Last but not least, professional mobility and long-distance geographic mobility go hand in hand. The interaction between these two processes could be largely explained by the concern to minimise travelling between the place of residence and the workplace.