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Cityscape: Volume 16 Number 1 | Article 1


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.

Housing, Contexts, and the Well-Being of Children and Youth

Volume 16, Number 1

Mark D. Shroder

Michelle P. Matuga

Residential Mobility Among Children: A Framework for Child and Family Policy

Sara Anderson
Tama Leventhal
Tufts University

Sandra Newman
Johns Hopkins University

Veronique Dupéré
University of Montreal


More children move than almost any other age group in the United States, with nearly one in five children moving in 2011 alone. A considerable research base links moving, or residential mobility, with adverse outcomes across childhood, including depression, problem behaviors, risk taking, and deficits in achievement. Nonetheless, we lack a framework for understanding how residential mobility is associated with children’s outcomes during different periods of development, such as early childhood, middle childhood, and adolescence. It is unlikely that moving itself is directly linked with children’s outcomes. Rather, the changes in children’s contexts concurrent with a move, such as changes in the child’s family, neighborhood, peer group, and school, likely underlie the relationship between moving and children’s well-being. In this article, we present a developmental-contextual framework for understanding the relationship between moving and adverse child outcomes. We illustrate our framework through a review of the literature and an empirical example. Evidence from the literature and our empirical example suggest that moving is associated with children’s family, neighborhood, and peers and, to a lesser extent, school contexts, with possible consequences for child outcomes. These associations with related contexts may be more pronounced in later developmental periods. In conclusion, we identify knowledge gaps and provide tentative policy implications.

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