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Residential Mobility During Adolescence: Even “Upward” Moves Predict High School Dropout

Racial and economic segregation have long endured as systemic challenges in U.S. metropolitan areas. To combat the inequalities of segregation, two broad policy approaches have emerged: (1) preservation stresses investment in low-income neighborhoods, and (2) mobility stresses moving households in low-income areas to more affluent areas. Our recent study reveals some possible unintended consequences of the latter approach, particularly for adolescents. We find that moving during adolescence is associated with decreased odds of graduating from high school, even when moving to significantly higher income neighborhoods.


Metzger, M. W., Fowler, P. J., & Kelberman, B. (2015, October). Residential mobility during adolescence: Even “upward” moves predict high school dropout (CSD Research Brief No. 15-52). St. Louis, MO: Washington University, Center for Social Development.