Methods: The three papers in this symposium represent an array of urban settings, including neighborhoods from 11 metropolitan areas (Chicago, Denver, Des Moines, Hartford, Indianapolis, Louisville, Milwaukee, Oakland, Providence, San Antonio, and Seattle). They apply a range of research methods, including a quasi experimental design using a “difference in difference” statistical model, an in depth qualitative study using ethnographic methods, and a large household panel survey with a unique sample design that allows estimates of household level and neighborhood level change.
Results: Collectively these papers present important evidence regarding the role of residential mobility in changing circumstances for families and children. Moreover, they provide insight into the processes, such as the decision to relocate, the factors promoting or impeding a move and the phases of adjustment. Additionally, they begin to illuminate connections between individual household choices and pathways of neighborhood change.
Implications: The studies presented in this symposium will speak to the following practice and policy questions: How do families make decisions to move or stay in their low income neighborhoods? What types of programs or incentives help them to move to less poor neighborhoods? What is the process through which families adjust to new neighborhood surroundings and take advantage of new opportunities? What is the effect of housing policy on mobility and neighborhood change? How can residential mobility be harnessed by community change initiatives to improve conditions in poor neighborhoods and the life chances of poor families and children?