When dual-income couples move because of a job, it’s most often the man’s job that determines the change. A traditional explanation has been that men have greater earning potential so their jobs take precedence.

However, a research study examined by Dina ElBoghady in The Washington Post sheds new light on the subject. Published in the journal Demography, “Re-Thinking the Two-Body Problem: The Segregation of Women into Geographically Dispersed Occupations” was written by Alan Benson, assistant Professor at the Carlson School of Management at the University of Minnesota-Twin Cities.

What the study finds, writes ElBoghady, is that “Women enter professions that make it easy to work anywhere, and move for any reason, including for a spouse. Men choose careers in fields that are geographically-constrained. In other words, men have to move in order to move up.”

Women dominate in the most-dispersed (i.e. most ubiquitous) careers such as teaching, nursing and public relations. Men, however, dominate in those careers that a more geographically clustered, including STEM professions.

“The tendency for men to move more often than women is completely explained by the types of jobs they enter, not that they are men or women,” Benson told ElBoghady in an interview. “Men who enter female-dominated jobs don’t tend to move as much for work. If you look at women who enter male-dominated jobs, they tend to move a lot.”

Uprooting a family and moving because of a job is always difficult. Interestingly, Benson found that women working in those male-dominated, geographically-clustered jobs have a higher divorce rate than women in the ubiquitous careers.

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