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Residential mobility of urban middle classes in the field of parenthood


  • Willem R Boterman


There is common understanding that gentrifiers and new middle classes more generally share an urban orientation and may share a ‘metropolitan habitus’. The urban geography of Western metropolises and the formation and reproduction of specific middle-class groups are intrinsically connected. The specific urban habitus of these new middle classes, however, is challenged by events in the life course. When urban middle classes settle down and have children, many suburbanise. Using two waves of longitudinal data from a representative sample of middle-class couples expecting their first child, this study investigates the residential practices of middle classes that live in the central areas of Amsterdam when they become first-time parents. Building on prior work on urban middle classes, inspired by the theoretical concepts of Bourdieu, through a multilevel analysis, this study seeks to understand how various orientations of capital influence the decision whether to stay in the city or move to suburban areas. Controlling for a range of individual and neighbourhood variables, this study demonstrates that couples with high economic capital and relatively low cultural capital have a higher propensity to move out of the central city, whereas couples with high cultural capital and low economic capital have a smaller chance of suburbanising. Furthermore, this study confirms that the degree of social and economic connectedness through social networks and work in the city also play an important part in determining the propensity to move out of the city. Keywords: middle-class, residential mobility, parenthood, capital, habitus

Suggested Citation

  • Willem R Boterman, 2012. "Residential mobility of urban middle classes in the field of parenthood," Environment and Planning A, Pion Ltd, London, vol. 44(10), pages 2397-2412, October.
  • Handle: RePEc:pio:envira:v:44:y:2012:i:10:p:2397-2412

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    Cited by:

    1. repec:bla:ijurrs:v:41:y:2017:i:3:p:443-463 is not listed on IDEAS
    2. Willem R. Boterman & Lia Karsten, 2014. "On the Spatial Dimension of the Gender Division of Paid Work in Two-Parent Families: The Case of Amsterdam, the Netherlands," Tijdschrift voor Economische en Sociale Geografie, Royal Dutch Geographical Society KNAG, vol. 105(1), pages 107-116, February.
    3. Willem R. Boterman & Wouter P.C. Gent, 2014. "Housing Liberalisation and Gentrification: The Social Effects of Tenure Conversions in Amsterdam," Tijdschrift voor Economische en Sociale Geografie, Royal Dutch Geographical Society KNAG, vol. 105(2), pages 140-160, April.

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