Education and Future Earnings Harmed by Middle Childhood Moves

Education and Future Earnings Harmed by Middle Childhood Moves
Kathleen Ziol-Guest, Ariel Kalil
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A stable place to call home has long-lasting benefits for children, as documented by a growing body of research. A brief based on the recent paper, “Long-Run Impact of Residential Moves in Childhood on Adult Achievement,” shows that any move during middle childhood, particularly for low-income children, can reduce later earnings, work hours, and educational attainment. The study is based on a nationally representative sample of individuals living in U.S. families, followed into adulthood.

Major findings:

  • The majority of low-income children moved at least once during early childhood.
  • More than half of the children moved three or more times before age 15.
  • Any move during childhood was associated with nearly a half-year loss in educational attainment.
  • Middle childhood, ages 6-10, is a sensitive age for moving. At that age, any move is associated with lower earnings, fewer work hours, and less educational attainment later in life.
  • Moving in early childhood (birth to age 5) had no long-term effect.