Moving to Opportunity?: A Longitudinal Analysis of Residential Mobility and Metropolitan Opportunity Structure

Tuesday, 17 July 2018: 17:45
Oral Presentation
Andrew GREENLEE, University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign, USA
Research on the Geography of Opportunity provides insights into the ways in which neighborhood effects can potentially influence long-term outcomes for residents (Briggs, 2005; Galster and Killen, 1995). Recent research highlights the importance of neighborhood demographic and socioeconomic conditions to intergenerational transfer of stability and advantage (Chetty and Hendren, 2015). In this paper, I take a novel look at this geography of opportunity as it relates to patterns of residential mobility in the Chicago, Illinois metropolitan area of the United States. Chicago is salient for this discussion not only given its size, but also given the long history of research on social processes including residential mobility within the region.

Drawing from a novel source of household and address level longitudinal data, I analyze residential location histories for over 8.1 million households living in the Chicago Metropolitan Area during the period 2005 to 2016, and parse out patterns of residential mobility based on theorized access to the geography of opportunity. Specifically, for households who have moved within the region during this time period, I compare neighborhood conditions at origin and destination to examine changes in exposure to certain types of empirically described social and economic opportunities. As a point of comparison, I also analyze the characteristics of households who have not moved during the same time period. This work presents a novel means for identifying housing residential mobility pathways, and uses empirically described elements of the Geography of Opportunity as a way to explore differential outcomes for movers and nonmovers based upon their demographic characteristics. The implications of this work are substantial, and are particularly relevant for regional policy analysis and understanding emerging regional phenomena including population loss in the urban core, the suburbanization of poverty, and persistent patterns of regional racial and economic segregation.