Open Source Article of the Week: The Consequences of Spatial Inequality for Adolescent Residential Mobility by Vogel and Zwiers

A large body of literature suggests that neighborhood socioeconomic disadvantage is positively associated with out-mobility. However, prior research has been limited by (1) the inability to account for endogenous factors that both funnel families into deprived neighborhoods and increase their likelihood of moving out, and (2) the failure to consider how the spatial distribution of socioeconomic deprivation in the broader community conditions the effect of local deprivation on mobility. This paper attends to this gap in the literature by examining how changes in socioeconomic disadvantage between sending and receiving neighborhoods and the spatial patterning of deprivation in the areas surrounding destination neighborhoods influence future mobility among a representative sample of American adolescents. We employ a modeling strategy that allows us to examine the unique and separable effects of local and extralocal neighborhood disadvantage while simultaneously holding constant time-invariant factors that place some youth at a greater likelihood of experiencing a residential move. We find that moves to more impoverished neighborhoods decrease the likelihood of subsequent mobility and that this effect is most pronounced among respondents who move to neighborhoods surrounded by other similarly deprived neighborhoods. In this sense, geographical pockets of disadvantage strengthen the mobility-hampering effect of neighborhood deprivation on future mobility.

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