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The effect of widowhood on housing and location choices

Collection : Documents de travail

154, 2008

The number of widows is increasing with population ageing and their in‡uence on the housing market is getting larger. This paper investigates the e¤ect of widowhood on housing and location choices. A partner’s death induces a decrease in income which may lead to downsizing. Widowhood may also reveal new preferences, such as the need to be close to care givers and health services. We estimate the effect of a transition to widowhood on housing consumption and location choices using the French Housing Surveys. Widowhood signicantly increases residential mobility, especially at older ages and when having children.Mobile recent widows tend to live closer to their relatives but do not move to co-reside with a child. Housing and location adjustments are consistent with new widows moving to dwellings that are smaller, more often appartments and in the rental sector, and on average located in larger cities where services are more accessible.

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