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Demography

, Volume 55, Issue 2, pp 485–510 | Cite as

Residential Mobility Across Early Childhood and Children’s Kindergarten Readiness

  • Stefanie Mollborn
  • Elizabeth Lawrence
  • Elisabeth Dowling Root
Article

Abstract

Understanding residential mobility in early childhood is important for contextualizing family, school, and neighborhood influences on child well-being. We examined the consequences of residential mobility for socioemotional and cognitive kindergarten readiness using the Early Childhood Longitudinal Study-Birth Cohort, a nationally representative longitudinal survey that followed U.S. children born in 2001 from infancy to kindergarten. We described individual, household, and neighborhood characteristics associated with residential mobility for children aged 0–5. Our residential mobility indicators examined frequency of moves, nonlinearities in move frequency, quality of moves, comparisons between moving houses and moving neighborhoods, and heterogeneity in the consequences of residential mobility. Nearly three-quarters of children moved by kindergarten start. Mobility did not predict cognitive scores. More moves, particularly at relatively high frequencies, predicted lower kindergarten behavior scores. Moves from socioeconomically advantaged to disadvantaged neighborhoods were especially problematic, whereas moves within a ZIP code were not. The implications of moves were similar across socioeconomic status. The behavior findings largely support an instability perspective that highlights potential disruptions from frequent or problematic moves. Our study contributes to literature emphasizing the importance of contextualizing residential mobility. The high prevalence and distinct implications of early childhood moves support the need for further research.

Keywords

Early childhood Residential mobility Inequality ECLS-B Kindergarten readiness 

Notes

Acknowledgments

This research is based on work supported by a grant from the National Science Foundation (SES 1061058) and a Ruth L. Kirschstein National Research Service Award from the National Institutes of Health (NICHD F32 HD 085599). Funds were also provided by the Eunice Kennedy Shriver National Institute of Child Health and Human Development to the University of Colorado Population Center (P2C HD066613) and the Carolina Population Center (P2C HD050924). We thank Richard Jessor and Laurie James-Hawkins for their contributions to this study.

Supplementary material

13524_2018_652_MOESM1_ESM.docx (125 kb)
ESM 1 (DOCX 125 kb)

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Copyright information

© Population Association of America 2018

Authors and Affiliations

  • Stefanie Mollborn
    • 1
  • Elizabeth Lawrence
    • 2
  • Elisabeth Dowling Root
    • 3
  1. 1.Institute of Behavioral Science and Department of SociologyUniversity of Colorado BoulderBoulderUSA
  2. 2.Department of SociologyUniversity of NevadaLas VegasUSA
  3. 3.Department of Geography and Division of EpidemiologyThe Ohio State UniversityColumbusUSA

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