Socio-Spatial Mobility and Neighborhood Outcomes in America: Is the Opportunity Matrix Closing?

William A. V. Clark, University of California, Los Angeles

Households choose places from a hierarchy of options defined by social, economic and environmental contexts and these choices are conditioned by economic contexts and family status. While we know a good deal about the choice processes we know less about the spatial outcomes of these decisions. Research has begun to fill that gap and in this paper I extend that research by using data from the Panel Study of Income Dynamics to construct matrices of socio-spatial movement across neighborhoods and to consider the relationship of community in-flows and out-flows and the probability moving above and below the diagonal of the matrix (neighborhood origins). I show that there is substantial movement across the matrix of opportunities defined by an index of socio-economic advantage. Economic resources and social status improve an individual’s chance of moving up the socio-spatial hierarchy as expected. There is little evidence of substantial polarization across decile (neighborhood) movements.

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Presented in Poster Session 4: Migration and Urbanization; Population, Development and the Environment