Living Far Apart Together: Dual-Career Location Constraints and Marital Non-Cohabitation

Marta Murray-Close, University of Massachusetts at Amherst

Location decisions pose a unique problem for dual-career couples, who may face difficult trade-offs between their ability to build a shared life in a single location and their ability to pursue career opportunities wherever the opportunities arise. Most research on the dual-career location problem has assumed that couples live together or break up, but a small literature indicates that living apart is also an option. Previous studies of dual-career couples who live apart have been theoretical or have relied on non-probability samples. This paper uses data from the 2000 United States Census to estimate the prevalence of marital non-cohabitation among college-educated workers and to assess the association between marital non-cohabitation and occupational characteristics likely to exacerbate dual-career location constraints. A preliminary analysis suggests that, among college-educated workers, those in occupations associated with frequent moves and those with advanced degrees are more likely than others to live apart from their spouse.

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Presented in Session 134: Non-Marital and Diverse Family Forms