Selectivity in Childhood (Im)Mobility: How Are Children from Different Origins Sorted into Neighbourhoods?

Rafael Costa , Netherlands Interdisciplinary Demographic Institute (NIDI)-KNAW/University of Groningen
Karel Neels , University of Antwerp

Numerous studies suggest that childhood mobility is associated with a range of (positive and negative) outcomes in later-life, such as educational attainment, health-related problems, and demographic behaviours. These associations are ascribed to mechanisms pertaining to the move itself—which is potentially a disruptive event—and to the child’s new neighbourhood—which may shape their opportunities. A major challenge to understand the effects of childhood mobility on later-life outcomes lies in the problem of selection. If children are selected into moving or if they are sorted into specific neighbourhoods, then the consequences of moving may stem from this selectivity rather than from the move itself or the new neighbourhood. Although previous studies have attempted to deal with the problem of selection, selectivity in childhood mobility has not been investigated as such. In this paper we investigate the selectivity in residential (im)mobility of children from native and foreign origin. The central question is how and why children from different origins are selected into moving to, or staying in, neighbourhoods with higher/lower shares of co-ethnics; and with better/worse socioeconomic conditions. Our study will contribute to understanding how selectivity in children’s moves may influence their later life course apart from the effects of the move itself and of their neighbourhood, thereby informing future research on the consequences of childhood mobility. Based on population-wide longitudinal microdata from Belgium (2001-2015), we use late-entry event-history models to look into the drivers of residential patterns of native-Belgian children and those with a Moroccan, and Turkish, and European/Western descent.

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 Presented in Session 3. Spatial mobility over the life course