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Refining the push and pull framework: identifying inequalities in residential relocation among older adults


Older people consider moving home when there is a discrepancy between actual and desired living conditions. This study builds on the classic push and pull framework described in the early work of Lee and Wiseman by identifying whether or not individual differences among older people can be predictive for certain push and pull reasons (such as housing, health, neighbourhood and social contact). On the basis of data from the Belgian Ageing Studies (N = 35,402), it was found that 13.9 per cent of older respondents had moved in the last ten years (N = 4,823). An analysis of the movers revealed inequalities in the reasons for moving in later life and raises the question of whether a relocation is voluntary (being able to move) or involuntary (being forced to move). Respondents with lower household incomes and poor mental health were significantly more likely to have moved because of stressors pushing them out of their previous dwelling, whereas older people with higher household incomes or home-owners were mainly pulled towards a more attractive environment.

Corresponding author
Address for correspondence: An-Sofie Smetcoren, Vrije Universiteit BrusselFaculty of Psychology and Educational Sciences, Pleinlaan 2 - 1050 Brussels, Belgium E-mail:
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Ageing & Society
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