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Linking desires and behaviour of residential relocation with life domain satisfaction

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Beata Nowok, Allan MacKay Findlay, David McCollum


Life satisfaction and motives for moving home are complex entanglements, reflecting multiple desires and experiences. The aim of this paper is to show that a focused analysis of satisfaction with particular life domains can prove that changing a place of residence is not only a life stressor, but also a positive means leading to enduring improvements in individual satisfaction. Using the British Household Panel Survey we examine overall life satisfaction and satisfaction in various life domains such as housing, job, social life, household income, spouse/partner and health, both prior to and after moving. A temporal pattern of movers’ satisfaction for a number of years before and after the move is derived employing a fixed-effects panel data model. Our results reveal that residential relocation increases housing satisfaction considerably. The positive effect of moving on housing satisfaction is much stronger and endures longer for those with a sustained desire to relocate ahead of movement. Despite some decrease over time, five years after moving survey respondents still had significantly higher housing satisfaction than before their move. Changes in satisfaction with other life domains are much less pronounced and no lasting improvements in satisfaction are observed for them.


Original languageEnglish
JournalUrban Studies
Early online date20 Sep 2016
StateE-pub ahead of print - 20 Sep 2016

    Research areas

  • Life domain satisfaction, Mobility desires, Panel models, Residential migration, Subjective wellbeing

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