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Long-distance commuters are more likely to get divorced

Date:2 JUN 2011

DivorceNew research published by Umea University in Sweden claims that the risk of separation is 40 percent higher among long-distance commuters than among other people.

The study surveyed more than two million Swedes who were married or cohabiting in 2000, and the results are based on official registry data for these individuals from 1995 and 2005.

The researchers found that it's the first years of long-distance commuting that are the most trying for a relationship. Commuting to work can be advantageous in terms of income and career opportunities, and it presents a good alternative to moving. But long commuting times also entail less time for family and friends and can lead to stress and health problems.

Although the findings show that income and careers often benefit from commuting, social geographer, Erika Sandow at Umea University says the social costs are often overlooked. "We don't know what long-distance commuting will lead to in the long run and what price we'll have to pay for economic growth. It's important to highlight the social consequences that commuting entails. For instance, how are children affected by growing up with one or both parents commuting long distances to work?"