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Residential mobility and neighborhood inequality during the transition to adulthood

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There is ongoing interest on the outcomes of residential mobility during the young adulthood. In this paper, we examine movement in and out of disadvantaged and advantaged neighborhoods as individuals move out of the family home and experience significant life course events. Using longitudinal data on young adults in the United States from the National Longitudinal Study of Adolescent to Adult Health, we find that while the point-in-time measure of the neighborhood poverty gap (the difference between the most and least advantaged neighborhoods) remained nearly identical from adolescence to young adulthood. But the neighborhood poverty gap between individuals starting out in the least and most disadvantaged residential settings decreased by 18.2 percentage points. In other words, cross sectional estimates of the poverty gap do not capture the dynamism of changes in poverty with young adult transitions. Partner formation, home ownership, and educational attainment are important life course transitions associated with significant moves up and down the neighborhood poverty distribution.
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Keywords: Residential mobility; affluence; neighborhood; poverty; transition to adulthood

Document Type: Research Article

Affiliations: 1: Department of Human Ecology, University of California, Davis, CA, USA 2: Department of Geography, University of California, Los Angeles, CA, USA

Publication date: August 9, 2019

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