Mothers’ Mobility after Separation: Do Grandmothers Matter?
Starting from a life course perspective, this study aims to gain more insight into mobility patterns of recently separated mothers, focusing especially on moves to the location of their own mother: the maternal grandmother. Separated mothers, having linked lives with their own mothers, may benefit from their practical and emotional support. Additionally, the grandparents' home can be a (temporary) place to stay shortly after divorce. Data come from the System of social statistical datasets (Statistics Netherlands). This unique dataset combines longitudinal data from a vast number of administrative registers. It covers the complete Dutch population, making it exceptionally well suited for life course and mobility research. We studied mothers with minor children between 1/1/2008 and 31/12/2010. Our study included 579,500 mothers, of whom about 8,800 (1.5%) experienced a separation in 2008. Separated mothers moved to the grandmother's municipality more often than non‐separated mothers, which might be partially motivated by the need for childcare. They also coresided with the grandmother more than non‐separated movers, mostly because of a vulnerable socio‐economic position. Although often temporary, coresidence appears to have a prolonged impact on the mothers' location choice; mothers frequently stayed in the grandmother's municipality after moving out. Finally, our results indicated that some mothers seemed to use the parental home as a stepping stone to cohabit with a new partner. © 2016 The Authors. Population, Space and Place published by John Wiley & Sons Ltd.