Circular job-related spatial mobility in Germany:
Comparative analyses of two representative surveys on the forms, prevalence and relevance in the context of partnership and family development

  • Heiko Rüger
  • Michael Feldhaus
  • Katharina S. Becker
  • Monika Schlegel
Keywords: Circular job-related spatial mobility, Job commuting, Business travel, Institutionalisation of relationships, Childlessness


Over the past few decades, employees have had to come to terms with increased demands of the labour market requiring greater flexibility and mobility. At the same time, increasingly versatile and complex forms of job-related spatial mobility are emerging. Consequently, the correlation between job mobility patterns and family-related processes is attracting more and more attention in the field of mobility and family research. However, to date there has rarely been a standard by which to systematically record and analyse job mobility. “Job Mobilities and Family Lives in Europe” (JobMob), a comparative European survey, and the “Panel Analysis of Intimate Relationships and Family Dynamics” (pairfam) constitute two sets of representative data for Germany, which provide largely comparable operationalisations for several forms of circular job mobility, thus allowing us to systematically perform comparative analyses. For the first time ever in this field of research, it is now possible to subject findings to a direct reciprocal validation process and to check whether general rules and correlations can be derived from them.

In this regard, the present article aims at achieving three essential objectives. First, we will introduce a common indicator for circular job mobility patterns found in the two surveys. On the basis of this common indicator, we will comparatively analyse the prevalence of different mobility forms and their composition according to key socio-demographic characteristics. In addition, we will use multivariate analyses to illustrate the relevance of job mobility for partnership and family development. Results suggest mobility patterns to be an important individual context factor when explaining processes relevant to partnerships and family. In particular, women who exhibit some degree of job mobility are less often married and rarely have children.
How to Cite
Rüger, H., Feldhaus, M., Becker, K.S. and Schlegel, M. 2012. Circular job-related spatial mobility in Germany:Comparative analyses of two representative surveys on the forms, prevalence and relevance in the context of partnership and family development. Comparative Population Studies. 36, 1 (Jan. 2012). DOI:
Research Articles