Gender and family migration

Gender and family migration (Dr Keith Halfacree and Professor Paul Boyle)

Research by Dr Keith Halfacree (with Professor Paul Boyle) has explored the intersection of family migration and the labour market achievement of partnered women in the UK and USA.

The research examines how the employment status of women is influenced by long-distance family migration and, in particular, considers whether women are more likely to be unemployed or economically inactive following such a move. The research found that women who move long distances with their partner have a higher chance of unemployment or economic inactivity than non-migrant women, short-distance migrant women or long-distance migrant women who move to join their partner. This is true in both the UK and the United States, even allowing for the fact that 'long' distances in the former represent less significant distances than in the latter, where population centres are more widely dispersed.

The research also explored  whether the phenomenon of 'tied migration' applies to both 'traditional' couples, where the man has a higher ranking occupation than the woman, and 'non-traditional' couples, of which there are far fewer, where the woman has a higher ranking occupation than the man. The findings confirm that the probability of unemployment or economic inactivity is higher for 'tied migrant' women than any other migrant/gender group. What is more, while the highest probability of all is for 'tied migrant' women in 'male-dominated' families, the second highest probability is for women living in 'female-dominated' families who have moved long distances with their partners. Relative spousal 'power' does not alter the fact that family migration is more deleterious to women's employment status than to men's.

For further information please contact Keith Halfacree