When push comes to shove: Local violence and residential mobility among families

Published in Journal of Marriage and Family, 2021

Recommended citation: Leibbrand, C., Gabriel, R., Hess, C., & Crowder, K. (2021). When push comes to shove: Local violence and residential mobility among families. Journal of Marriage and Family. https://doi.org/10.1111/jomf.12769

This study examined whether exposure to, and perceptions of, local violence were associated with families’ probabilities of moving and whether that relationship varied by the level of perceived collective efficacy in the neighborhood. Local violence can shape individuals’ outcomes in long-lasting ways. Parents who perceive their neighborhoods to be violent may be especially concerned about moving their children away from local violence and this desire may be heightened when families perceive that there are few social resources in their neighborhoods. However, limited research exists concerning the associations between perceptions of local violence, collective efficacy, and mobility decisions of families with children. The analyses used Fragile Families and Child Wellbeing Study Data (n = 3636) and mixed-effects models to examine the relationship between primary caregivers’ reported perceptions of neighborhood violence and their probabilities of moving with their families. The moderating role of community collective efficacy was assessed, as was the relationship between mobility and changes in families’ perceptions of local violence. Perceptions of violence were significantly associated with increases in the probabilities that families move and decreases in perceptions of local violence after moving. These results provide evidence for the importance of individuals’ perceptions for shaping mobility outcomes and the value of mobility for shielding families from local violence.