Staying Close: Proximity to Kin and Patterns of Residential Mobility in Poor Neighborhoods

Elizabeth S. Ackert, University of Washington
Amy L. Spring, University of Washington
Kyle Crowder, University of Washington
Scott J. South, University at Albany, State University of New York (SUNY)

Prevailing theories of residential mobility do not fully address how the propensity to move out of a poor neighborhood is influenced by proximity to kin. We use the 1968 to 2011 Panel Study of Income Dynamics and tract-level decennial census data to evaluate the association between proximity to kin and mobility among individuals in poor neighborhoods. We test the hypothesis that proximity to kin can serve as a “rooting” factor that reduces the propensity to move among those in poor neighborhoods. Our preliminary results show that mobility is associated with longer distances to kin among individuals in both poor and non-poor neighborhoods. Individuals in poor neighborhoods live closer to kin networks overall, and the difference in proximity to kin between movers and non-movers is smaller among individuals in poor neighborhoods relative to those in non-poor neighborhoods.

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 Presented in Session P1. Marriage, Unions, Families, and Households