Later Life Moves and Movers in Germany: An Expanded Typology

Tim Winke


In times of ageing baby boomer cohorts and increasing regional disparities, residential choice in later life is important regarding family relations and the provision of social services. In this study, a new typology of later life moves is developed based on observed patterns and characteristics of residential changes. For this purpose, the German Socio-Economic Panel data has been linked to uniquely detailed neighbourhood information to study how aspects of both later life movers and moves are structured. The results suggest four types of moves, namely: residential improvement, family, residential adaptation and care moves. The typology expands rigid classifications based on age, health status or distance moved, and highlights intergenerational family ties, housing concerns and fragmented forms of partnership as key aspects. Family moves to one’s children are associated with the existence of grandchildren, showing that elderly people take on roles as both care-takers and care-providers. The residential consequences of being widowed or divorced are socially stratified and can lead to residential and economic instability.


Later life migration; Residential mobility; Life course; Germany; Non-negative matrix factorisation

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