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Cityscape: Volume 14 Number 3 | Article 3


Residential Mobility: Implications for Families and Communities

Volume 14 Number 3

Mark D. Shroder
Michelle P. Matuga

Residential Mobility and Neighborhood Change: Real Neighborhoods Under the Microscope

Claudia Coulton, Case Western Reserve University

Brett Theodos, Margery A. Turner, Urban Institute


Residential mobility is a process that changes lives and neighborhoods. Efforts to build strong communities are unavoidably caught up with this dynamic but have insufficient understanding of its complexities. To shed light on the underlying forces of residential mobility, this study uses a unique panel survey from the Casey Foundation’s Making Connections initiative targeting poor neighborhoods in 10 cities.

The study classified households in the 10 cities as movers, newcomers, or stayers, and it evaluated the push and pull factors related to their mobility decisions. Cluster analysis revealed discernible types based on life cycle, household economic factors, and neighborhood attachment. The study also investigated the effect of residential mobility on neighborhood composition, finding that neighborhood change was primarily due to differences between movers and newcomers rather than changes for stayers. Combining information on the mix of household types with the components of neighborhood change, the study suggests these neighborhoods functioned in quite different ways that are relevant to family well-being and community development.

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