Understanding Couple Migration towards Core and Peripheral Regions: The Role of Men's and Women's Education

Niels Kooiman , Statistics Netherlands
Marjolijn Das, Statistics Netherlands

Numerous studies have demonstrated that men’s educational profiles dominate couple migration decisions, however, most of these investigated the USA context or were conducted in the previous century. This study examines the role of both partners’ educational attainments in couple long-distance migration in recent years in a new context, the Netherlands. The Netherlands is one of the countries in which women surpass men in educational attainment. We take a geographical perspective and test Costa and Kahn’s (2000) hypothesis that power couples – two partners with a university degree - are more likely than other couples to migrate towards metropolitan areas with dense labour markets in order to solve their “colocation problem”. Data are derived from the Dutch Labour Force Survey between 2006 and 2015. The research population consists of all opposite-sex married and unmarried couples aged 18-45 (N=90,314 couples). Linking the respondents to integral register data enabled us to track all couples until three years after the interview date. Results show that both men’s and women’s human capital increases migration propensities, although effect sizes are small. Among dual-earners, the effect disappears when corrected for migration propensity of the couples’ occupations. We found some signs that men’s careers are still attributed more weight in couple migration decision-making. In contrast to Costa and Kahn’s hypothesis, power couples are not more likely than other couples to migrate towards metropolitan areas. Hence, the concentration of power couples in the Dutch metropolitan areas mainly stems from highly educated single young urban adults who migrated there individually.

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 Presented in Session 41. Internal migration and family dynamics