Maike van Damme, Sandra Krapf, Michael Wagner
Housing density and its consequences for couples in Germany: staying, moving, or breaking up?

Housing Studies, 2023: 38, Heft 8, S. 1560-1588
ISSN: 0267-3037 (print), 1466-1810 (online)

High housing density has been considered a stressor that is detrimental to couples’ relationships. However, empirical research on this topic has been mixed, which might be due to the fact that not all couples respond to density in the same way. We contribute to the literature by not only considering separation as a potential reaction to density but also moving to a new place. Moreover, we combine insights from different theoretical models to explain how couples react differently to an overcrowded home, depending upon their resources. For our analyses, we use the German Family Panel PAIRFAM (10 waves, 2008/09 to 2017/18) with a sample of N = 4180 couples, of which 484 experience a move and 488 a separation. Applying competing risk models, we find that vulnerable groups such as the poor and the low-educated are significantly more likely than others to separate when in a dense home rather than to stay in the same dwelling.