, Volume 54, Issue 4, pp 1277–1304 | Cite as

Influence of Proximity to Kin on Residential Mobility and Destination Choice: Examining Local Movers in Metropolitan Areas

  • Amy SpringEmail author
  • Elizabeth Ackert
  • Kyle Crowder
  • Scott J. South


A growing body of research has examined how family dynamics shape residential mobility, highlighting the social—as opposed to economic—drivers of mobility. However, few studies have examined kin ties as both push and pull factors in mobility processes or revealed how the influence of kin ties on mobility varies across sociodemographic groups. Using data on local residential moves from the Panel Study of Income Dynamics (PSID) from 1980 to 2013, we find that location of noncoresident kin influences the likelihood of moving out of the current neighborhood and the selection of a new destination neighborhood. Analyses of out-mobility reveal that parents and young adult children living near each other as well as low-income adult children living near parents are especially deterred from moving. Discrete-choice models of neighborhood selection indicate that movers are particularly drawn to neighborhoods close to aging parents, white and higher-income households tend to move close to parents and children, and lower-income households tend to move close to extended family. Our results highlight the social and economic trade-offs that households face when making residential mobility decisions, which have important implications for broader patterns of inequality in residential attainment.


Residential mobility Neighborhood Family dynamics Discrete choice 



This research was supported by grants from the National Science Foundation (SES-1258758 and SES-1258677) and by a Eunice Kennedy Shriver National Institute of Child Health and Human Development research infrastructure grant (R24 HD042828) to the Center for Studies in Demography & Ecology at the University of Washington. The collection of data used in this study was partly supported by the National Institutes of Health (R01 HD069609) and the National Science Foundation (1157698). We thank Peter Rich, Susan Brown, and several anonymous reviewers for helpful comments.


  1. Alba, R. D., & Logan, J. R. (1992). Analyzing locational attainments: Constructing individual-level regression models using aggregate data. Social Methods Research, 20, 367–397.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  2. Alba, R. D., & Logan, J. R. (1993). Minority proximity to whites in suburbs: An individual-level analysis of segregation. American Journal of Sociology, 98, 1388–1427.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  3. Allen, W. R. (1979). Class, culture, and family organization: The effects of class and race on family structure in urban America. Journal of Comparative Family Studies, 10, 301–313.Google Scholar
  4. Bach, R. L., & Smith, J. (1977). Community satisfaction, expectations of moving, and migration. Demography, 14, 147–167.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  5. Bengston, V. L. (2001). Beyond the nuclear family: The increasing importance of multigenerational bonds. Journal of Marriage and Family, 63, 1–16.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  6. Boyd, M. L. (2008). The role of social networks in making housing choices: The experience of the Gautreaux Two Residential Mobility Program. Cityscape, 10(1), 41–63.Google Scholar
  7. Briggs, X. d. S. (1998). Brown kids in white suburbs: Housing mobility and the many faces of social capital. Housing Policy Debate, 9, 177–221.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  8. Briggs, X. d. S., Popkin, S. J., & Goering, J. (2010). Moving to opportunity: The story of an American experiment to fight ghetto poverty. New York, NY: Oxford University Press.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  9. Bruch, E. E., & Mare, R. D. (2012). Methodological issues in the analysis of residential preferences, residential mobility, and neighborhood change. Sociological Methodology, 42, 103–154.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  10. Buis, M. L. (2010). Stata tip 87: Interpretation of interactions in nonlinear models. Stata Journal, 10, 305–308.Google Scholar
  11. Chan, T. W., & Ermisch, J. (2015). Proximity of couples to parents: Influences of gender, labor market, and family. Demography, 52, 379–399.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  12. Charles, C. Z. (2003). The dynamics of racial residential segregation. Annual Review of Sociology, 29, 167–207.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  13. Choi, H., Schoeni, R. F., Langa, K. M., & Heisler, M. M. (2014). Older adults’ residential proximity to their children: Changes after cardiovascular events. Journals of Gerontology, Series B: Psychological Sciences and Social Sciences, 70, 995–1004.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  14. Clark, R., & Wolf, D. (1992). Proximity of children and elderly migration. In A. Rogers (Ed.), Elderly migration and population redistribution: A comparative perspective (pp. 77–96). London, UK: Belhaven Press.Google Scholar
  15. Clark, W. A. V. (2013). Life course events and residential change: Unpacking age effects on the probability of moving. Journal of Population Research, 30, 319–334.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  16. Clark, W. A. V., Deurloo, M., & Dieleman, F. (2006). Residential mobility and neighbourhood outcomes. Housing Studies, 21, 323–342.Google Scholar
  17. Clark, W. A. V., & Ledwith, V. (2006). Mobility, housing stress, and neighborhood contexts: Evidence from Los Angeles. Environment & Planning A, 38, 1077–1093.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  18. Clark, W. A. V., & Maas, R. (2015). Interpreting migration through the prism of reasons for moves. Population, Space and Place, 21, 54–67.Google Scholar
  19. Compton, J., & Pollak, R. A. (2014). Family proximity, childcare, and women’s labor force attachment. Journal of Urban Economics, 79, 72–90.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  20. Cooke, T. J. (2008). Migration in a family way. Population, Space and Place, 14, 255–265.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  21. Cooke, T. J., Mulder, C., & Thomas, M. (2016). Union dissolution and migration. Demographic Research, 34(article 26), 741–760. doi: 10.4054/DemRes.2016.34.26 CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  22. Cooney, T. M., & Uhlenberg, P. (1992). Support from parents over the life course: The adult child’s perspective. Social Forces, 71, 63–84.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  23. Courgeau, D. (1990). Migration, family, and career: A life course approach. In P. Baltes, D. Featherman, & R. Lerner (Eds.), Life-span development and behaviour (Vol. 10, pp. 219–256). Hillsdale, NJ: Lawrence Erlbaum Associates.Google Scholar
  24. Crowder, K., & South, S. J. (2005). Race, class, and changing migration patterns between poor and nonpoor neighborhoods. American Journal of Sociology, 110, 1715–1763.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  25. Dahl, M. S., & Sorenson, O. (2010). The social attachment to place. Social Forces, 89, 633–658.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  26. Dawkins, C. J. (2006). Are social networks the ties that bind families to neighborhoods? Housing Studies, 21, 867–881.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  27. Dewilde, C. (2008). Divorce and the housing movements of owner-occupiers: A European comparison. Housing Studies, 23, 809–832.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  28. Freeman, L. (2000). Minority housing segregation: A test of three perspectives. Journal of Urban Affairs, 22, 15–35.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  29. Frejinger, E., & Bierlaire, M. (2007). Sampling of alternatives for route choice modeling (Report TRANSP-OR 071121). Lusanne, Switzerland: Ecole Polytechnique Fédérale de Lausanne.Google Scholar
  30. Gallagher, S., & Gerstel, N. (2001). Connections and constraints: The effects of children on caregiving. Journal of Marriage and Family, 63, 265–275.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  31. Geist, C., & McManus, P. A. (2008). Geographical mobility over the life course: Motivations and implications. Population, Space and Place, 14, 283–202.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  32. GeoLytics. (2014). CensusCD Neighborhood Change Database 19702010 tract data [Data set]. Retrieved from,Neighborhood-Change-Database-1970-2000,Data,Features,Products.asp
  33. Glick, P. C., & Parke, R. (1965). New approaches in studying the life-cycle of the family. Demography, 2, 187–202.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  34. Greenwell, L., & Bengtson, B. (1997). Geographic distance and contact between middle-aged children and their parents: The effects of social class over 20 years. Journal of Gerontology, Series B: Social Sciences, 52B, S13–S26.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  35. Guo, Z., & Loo, B. P. Y. (2013). Pedestrian environment and route choice: Evidence from New York City and Hong Kong. Journal of Transport Geography, 28, 124–136.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  36. Hill, R. B. (1999). The strengths of black families: Twenty-five years later. Lanham, MD: University Press of America.Google Scholar
  37. Ihrke, D. K., & Faber, C. S. (2012). Geographical mobility: 2005 to 2010 (Current Population Reports P20-567). Washington, DC: U.S. Census Bureau.Google Scholar
  38. Joseph, A. E., & Hallman, B. C. (1998). Over the hill and far away: Distance as a barrier to the provision of assistance to elderly relatives. Social Science & Medicine, 46, 631–640.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  39. Kan, K. (2007). Residential mobility and social capital. Journal of Urban Economics, 61, 436–457.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  40. King, V., & Elder, G. H., Jr. (1997). The legacy of grandparenting: Childhood experiences with grandparents and current involvement with grandchildren. Journal of Marriage and the Family, 59, 848–859.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  41. Landale, N. S., & Guest, A. M. (1985). Constraints, satisfaction and residential mobility: Speare’s model reconsidered. Demography, 22, 199–222.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  42. Lee, E. S. (1966). A theory of migration. Demography, 3, 47–57.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  43. Lin, G., & Rogerson, P. A. (1995). Elderly parents and the geographic availability of their adult children. Research on Aging, 17, 303–331.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  44. Litwak, E., & Kulis, S. (1987). Technology, proximity, and measures of kin support. Journal of Marriage and the Family, 49, 649–661.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  45. Logan, J. R., & Alba, R. D. (1993). Locational returns to human capital: Minority access to suburban community resources. Demography, 30, 243–268.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  46. Logan, J. R., & Alba, R. D. (1995). Who lives in affluent suburbs? Racial differences in eleven metropolitan regions. Sociological Focus, 28, 353–364.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  47. Long, J. S. (2006, July). Group comparisons and other issues in interpreting models for categorical outcomes using Stata. Paper presented at the 5th North American Users Group Meeting, Boston, MA.Google Scholar
  48. Long, L. (1988). Migration and residential mobility in the United States. New York, NY: Russell Sage Foundation.Google Scholar
  49. Massey, D. S., & Denton, N. A. (1993). American apartheid: Segregation and the making of the underclass. Cambridge, MA: Harvard University Press.Google Scholar
  50. McFadden, D. (1978). Modeling the choice of residential location. In A. Karlqvist, F. Snickars, & J. Weibull (Eds.), Spatial interaction theory and planning models (pp. 75–96). Amsterdam, The Netherlands: North Holland.Google Scholar
  51. McPherson, M., Smith-Lovin, L., & Brashears, M. E. (2006). Social isolation in America: Changes in core discussion networks over two decades. American Sociological Review, 71, 353–375.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  52. Michielin, F., Mulder, C., & Zorlu, A. (2008). Distance to parents and geographical mobility. Population, Space and Place, 14, 327–345.Google Scholar
  53. Mulder, C. H. (2007). The family context and residential choice: A challenge for new research. Population, Space and Place, 13, 265–278.Google Scholar
  54. Mulder, C. H., & van der Meer, M. (2009). Geographical distances and support from family members. Population, Space and Place, 15, 381–399.Google Scholar
  55. Mulder, C. H., & Wagner, M. (1993). Migration and marriage in the life course: A method for studying synchronized events. European Journal of Population, 9, 55–76.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  56. Mulder, C. H., & Wagner, M. J. (2010). Union dissolution and mobility: Who moves from the family home after separation? Journal of Marriage and Family, 72, 1263–1273.Google Scholar
  57. Oh, J. H. (2003). Social bonds and the migration intentions of elderly urban residents: The mediating effect of residential satisfaction. Population Research and Policy Review, 22, 127–146.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  58. Panel Study of Income Dynamics (PSID). (2013). Restricted use dataset. Ann Arbor: Institute for Social Research Survey Research Center, University of Michigan.Google Scholar
  59. Permentier, M., Van Ham, M., & Bolt, G. (2009). Neighbourhood reputation and the intention to leave the neighbourhood. Environment & Planning A, 41, 2162–2180.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  60. Pettersson, A., & Malmberg, G. (2009). Adult children and elderly parents as mobility attractions in Sweden. Population, Space and Place, 15, 343–357.Google Scholar
  61. Quillian, L. (2015). A comparison of traditional and discrete-choice approaches to the analysis of residential mobility and locational attainment. Annals of the American Academy of Political and Social Science, 660, 240–260.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  62. Rogerson, P. A., Weng, R. H., & Lin, G. (1993). The spatial separation of parents and their adult children. Annals of the Association of American Geographers, 83, 656–671.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  63. Rossi, P. H. (1980). Why families move. Beverly Hills, CA: Sage Publications.Google Scholar
  64. Sarkisian, N., & Gerstel, N. (2004). Kin support among blacks and whites: Race and family organization. American Sociological Review, 69, 812–837.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  65. Sarkisian, N., & Gerstel, N. (2008). Till marriage do us part: Adult children’s relationships with their parents. Journal of Marriage and Family, 70, 360–376.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  66. Schachter, J. P. (2004). Geographical mobility: 2002–2003. Retrieved from
  67. Silverstein, M. (1995). Stability and change in temporal distance between the elderly and their children. Demography, 32, 29–45.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  68. Silverstein, M., & Bengtson, V. L. (1997). Intergenerational solidarity and the structure of adult child-parent relationships in American families. American Journal of Sociology, 103, 429–460.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  69. Silverstein, M., Giarrusso, R., & Bengtson, V. L. (1998). Intergenerational solidarity and the grandparent role. In M. Szinovacz (Ed.), Handbook on grandparenthood (pp. 144–158). Westport, CT: Greenwood Press.Google Scholar
  70. South, S. J., & Crowder, K. D. (1997). Residential mobility between cities and suburbs: Race, suburbanization, and back-to-the-city moves. Demography, 34, 525–538.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  71. South, S. J., & Crowder, K. D. (1998). Leaving the ’hood: Residential mobility between black, white, and integrated neighborhoods. American Sociological Review, 63, 17–26.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  72. Speare, A. J. (1974). Residential satisfaction as an intervening variable in residential mobility. Demography, 11, 173–188.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  73. Stack, C. B. (1974). All our kin: Strategies for survival in a black community. New York, NY: Harper & Row.Google Scholar
  74. Staples, R. (1981). The myth of the black matriarchy. In F. C. Steady (Ed.), The black woman cross-culturally (pp. 335–348). Cambridge, MA: Schenkmann.Google Scholar
  75. Stoll, M. A. (2013). Residential mobility in the U.S. and the Great Recession: A shift to local moves (US 2010 report). Retrieved from
  76. Survey, A. H. (2011). Public use file (version 1.1). Washington, DC: U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development.Google Scholar
  77. U.S. Census Bureau. (2015). Geographic mobility: 2013 to 2014: Table 16. Metropolitan mobility, by sex, age, race and Hispanic origin, relationship to householder, educational attainment, marital status, nativity, tenure, and poverty status: 2013 to 2014. Retrieved from
  78. White, I. R., Royston, P., & Wood, A. M. (2011). Multiple imputation using chained equations: Issues and guidance for practice. Statistics in Medicine, 30, 377–399.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  79. Wilmoth, J. J. (2010). Health trajectories among older movers. Journal of Aging and Health, 22, 862–881.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  80. Xu, J., & Long, J. S. (2005). Confidence intervals for predicted outcomes in regression models for categorical outcomes. Stata Journal, 5, 537–559.Google Scholar
  81. Zhang, Y., Engelman, M., & Agree, E. M. (2013). Moving considerations: A longitudinal analysis of parent-child residential proximity for older Americans. Research on Aging, 35, 663–687.CrossRefGoogle Scholar

Copyright information

© Population Association of America 2017

Authors and Affiliations

  • Amy Spring
    • 1
    Email author
  • Elizabeth Ackert
    • 2
  • Kyle Crowder
    • 3
  • Scott J. South
    • 4
  1. 1.Department of SociologyGeorgia State UniversityAtlantaUSA
  2. 2.Population Research CenterUniversity of Texas–AustinAustinUSA
  3. 3.Department of SociologyUniversity of WashingtonSeattleUSA
  4. 4.Department of SociologyUniversity at Albany, State University of New YorkAlbanyUSA

Personalised recommendations