Trends in the Well-Being of America's Children and Youth, 1997. PF 3.1 Residential stability

04/01/1997

Recent research has demonstrated a strong relationship between residential stability and child well-being, with frequent moves associated with such negative outcomes as dropping out of high school, delinquency, depression, and nonmarital teen births. Some researchers theorize that these negative associations may result from a lack of rootedness in a local community and its institutions on the part of frequent movers.8

The United States has long been a highly mobile society. In 1960, 21 percent of children under the age of 18 had moved to a new residence during the previous year. The general trend since that time has been toward somewhat lower rates of mobility, to a low of 17 percent in 1994 (see Table PF 3.1.A).

Differences by Age. Young children were the most mobile of any child age group (see Table PF 3.1.B). In 1994, 22 percent of children under the age of five had changed residences in the previous year, compared to
17 percent among children ages 5-9, 13 percent for ages 10-14, and 15 percent for youth ages 15-17.

Differences by Race and Ethnicity. For all children under age 18 in 1994, 16 percent of white children moved during the previous year compared to 20 percent of black children and 21 percent of Hispanic children. For each group, the youngest children were the most likely to move, and children ages 10-14 were the least likely to move.

 

Table PF 3.1.A 
Percentage of Children Under Age 18 Who Have Moved Within the Last Year: 19601994

                 
 
1960
1970
1981
1990
1991
1992
1993
1994
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
                 
Totala 
21
19
18
18
17
18
17
17
                 

Note: aTotal children refers to all children between the ages of 1 and 17. 

Source: U.S. Bureau of the Census, March Current Population Reports, Series P-20, Geographical Mobility, various years.

 

Table PF 3.1.B 
Percentage of Children Under Age 18 Who Have Moved Within the Last Year, by Age and Race/Ethnicity: 19901994

               
     
1990
1991
1992
1993
1994
     
 
 
 
 
 
All Children
  Totala
18
17
18
17
17
    1-4 Years
24
23
22
23
22
    5-9 Years
19
18
18
17
17
    10-14 Years
15
14
15
14
13
    15-17 Years
15
15
14
14
15
               
White
  Totala
18
17
17
16
16
    1-4 Years
23
22
21
22
21
    5-9 Years
18
17
17
16
16
    10-14 Years
14
13
15
13
12
    15-17 Years
14
14
14
14
13
               
BLACK
  Totala
21
21
21
20
20
    1-4 Years
26
26
27
26
25
    5-9 Years
22
22
22
20
22
    10-14 Years
19
17
18
17
16
    15-17 Years
18
16
16
14
18
               
Hispinic
  Totala
25
21
24
23
21
    1-4 Years
32
27
27
28
26
    5-9 Years
28
20
25
24
20
    10-14 Years
18
19
21
19
15
    15-17 Years
21
19
19
20
21
               

Note: aTotal children refers to all children between the ages of one and 17. 

Source: U.S. Bureau of the Census, March Current Population Reports, Series P-20, Geographical Mobility, various years.

 

8 Coleman, J. 1988. "Social Capital and the Creation of Human Capital." American Journal of Sociology. 94: s95-s120.
 

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