Trailing spouses

Other Names:
Trailing parents

An increasing factor in business moves or job relocation are the husbands or, more commonly, wives whose careers put obstacles in the way of relocating for professional reasons. In recent years the phenomenon of "trailing parents" has emerged, as the needs of elderly parents get in the way of job relocations. Some companies will pay the costs of resettling elderly parents as well as families rather than settle for second choice in important personnel appointments. Others do not acknowledge the problem, perhaps from a fear of higher resettlement costs. No matter who pays, relocating families, and in particular relocating elderly people, causes problems.


Trailing spouses and parents are a serious factor affecting the US economy, which has always depended on a high degree of job mobility. It is estimated that about 12% of the American workforce is responsible for caring for an aging parent. It is projected that by 2020 1 in 3 workers will have to provide care for elderly parents. A 1995 survey of American employees found that 37% of those who identified themselves as providing care for an elderly relative were not interested in relocating for professional reasons. By comparison, 26% of all employees said they would not be interested.

Fear of resettlement
Related UN Sustainable Development Goals:
GOAL 11: Sustainable Cities and Communities
Problem Type:
G: Very specific problems
Date of last update
04.10.2020 – 22:48 CEST