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Cityscape: Volume 14 Number 3 | Article 5


The goal of Cityscape is to bring high-quality original research on housing and community development issues to scholars, government officials, and practitioners. Cityscape is open to all relevant disciplines, including architecture, consumer research, demography, economics, engineering, ethnography, finance, geography, law, planning, political science, public policy, regional science, sociology, statistics, and urban studies.

Cityscape is published three times a year by the Office of Policy Development and Research (PD&R) of the U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development.

Residential Mobility: Implications for Families and Communities

Volume 14 Number 3

Mark D. Shroder

Michelle P. Matuga

Moving and Staying in Los Angeles Neighborhoods: Money Matters, but So Does Family Composition

William A.V. Clark, University of California, Los Angeles


In this article, I use data from the Los Angeles Family and Neighborhood Study to examine the residential selections that households and individuals make when they change residences and, in particular, the relationship between their choices and their socioeconomic status. I evaluate outcomes across neighborhoods grouped into deciles and quintiles of advantage and disadvantage, where the neighborhoods are allocated to groupings of advantage and disadvantage based on the first factor of a principal components analysis.

Resources—income, homeownership, and education—play important roles in neighborhood selection and can also affect the decision to move. Commonly accepted, and as demonstrated in this study, households on the whole move short distances within cities, and, thus, where an individual originates has an important effect on his or her ability to positively change his or her neighborhood status. The research shows that family composition and ethnicity can constrain how much of a change in outcome is possible with a move and highlights the difficulty of neighborhood or household interventions intended to improve outcomes after a move. Modest evidence points to an increase in satisfaction when households move up the hierarchy of the sociospatial scale.

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