Residential Instability as a Dimension of Rural Community/School District Disadvantage

Kai A. Schafft, Pennsylvania State University
Robin M. Blakely, Cornell University

Residential mobility is often thought to be voluntary, largely opportunity-related, and a primary means to improve economic well-being, quality of life, enter a better school district, or otherwise take advantage of greater opportunities at migration destinations. However, residential mobility associated with economic distress often does not fit these models. Frequent, often short distance residential movement across already distressed communities and school districts may be unplanned and involuntary. We analyze the special school district tabulation of Census 2000 data, and New York State BEDS data to examine local residential mobility within and across rural New York State school districts, exploring the relationship between local mobility levels and more standard metrics of community disadvantage. We discuss the implications of local residential instability for school districts and other community institutions, arguing that this movement may be understood as both a cause and consequence of community disadvantage, with disproportionately negative impacts for children and schools.

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Presented in Session 72: School Demography