The Dynamic Nature of Neighborhood Attachment and Residential Mobility: A Multilevel Longitudinal Analysis
Gregory Sharp, Rice University
Despite considerable scholarly interest in residential mobility as an outcome of neighborhood attachment, surprisingly scant attention has been paid to how local attachments are shaped by the decision to move or not. In this paper, I use restricted longitudinal data from the Los Angeles Family and Neighborhood Survey to assess the relationship between neighborhood attachment and residential mobility. My results indicate that mobility significantly influences levels of and changes in attachment, and the factors that shape attachment are strikingly different for movers and stayers. Among movers, life-course events prominently shape their attachment, while investment-type transitions dictate stayers’. Whether they move or stay put, individuals’ attachments are highly sensitive to changes in neighborhood context, especially increasing disorder and disadvantage. I also find attachment dimensions to importantly reduce the likelihood of moving, with residents who are more invested in the community the most apt to be rooted in it.