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Cityscape: Volume 14 Number 3 | Guest Editor's Introduction


Residential Mobility: Implications for Families and Communities

Volume 14 Number 3

Mark D. Shroder
Michelle P. Matuga

Guest Editor's Introduction

Cynthia Guy, The Annie E. Casey Foundation

The contents of this introduction are the views of the author and do not necessarily reflect the views or policies of the U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development, the Congressional Budget Office, the U.S. government, or any state or local agency that provided data.


Residential mobility—residents’ movement from one housing unit to another—could be either a positive or a negative phenomenon for families and neighborhoods. At the family level, residential mobility can reflect positive changes in individual or household circumstances. Moving up and out in search of better homes, better schools, and more advantageous neighborhoods has long been a rite of passage for the American middle class. However, residential mobility can also indicate household instability and insecurity, particularly in cases in which low-income families churn through a series of short-term, short-distance relocations (Crowley, 2003). For those families who lack sufficient financial resources and are disconnected from the informal support networks that can play a crucial role in weathering emergencies, frequent moves magnify the difficulty of dealing with day-to-day challenges such as childcare and transportation.

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