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Gentrification and residential mobility in Philadelphia


  • Ding, Lei
  • Hwang, Jackelyn
  • Divringi, Eileen


Gentrification has provoked considerable controversy surrounding its effects on residential displacement. Using a unique individual-level, longitudinal data set, this study examines mobility rates and residential destinations of residents in gentrifying neighborhoods during the recent housing boom and bust in Philadelphia for various strata of residents and different types of gentrification. We find that vulnerable residents, those with low credit scores and without mortgages, are generally no more likely to move from gentrifying neighborhoods compared with their counterparts in nongentrifying neighborhoods. When they do move, however, they are more likely to move to lower-income neighborhoods. Residents in gentrifying neighborhoods at the aggregate level have slightly higher mobility rates, but these rates are largely driven by more advantaged residents. These findings shed new light on the heterogeneity in mobility patterns across residents in gentrifying neighborhoods and suggest that researchers should focus more attention on the quality of residential moves and nonmoves for less advantaged residents, rather than mobility rates alone.

Suggested Citation

  • Ding, Lei & Hwang, Jackelyn & Divringi, Eileen, 2016. "Gentrification and residential mobility in Philadelphia," Regional Science and Urban Economics, Elsevier, vol. 61(C), pages 38-51.
  • Handle: RePEc:eee:regeco:v:61:y:2016:i:c:p:38-51
    DOI: 10.1016/j.regsciurbeco.2016.09.004

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    References listed on IDEAS

    1. Lance Freeman & Adele Cassola & Tiancheng Cai, 2016. "Displacement and gentrification in England and Wales: A quasi-experimental approach," Urban Studies, Urban Studies Journal Limited, vol. 53(13), pages 2797-2814, October.
    2. Ellen, Ingrid Gould & O'Regan, Katherine M., 2011. "How low income neighborhoods change: Entry, exit, and enhancement," Regional Science and Urban Economics, Elsevier, vol. 41(2), pages 89-97, March.
    3. Atif Mian & Amir Sufi, 2009. "The Consequences of Mortgage Credit Expansion: Evidence from the U.S. Mortgage Default Crisis," The Quarterly Journal of Economics, Oxford University Press, vol. 124(4), pages 1449-1496.
    4. Joseph Gyourko & Christopher Mayer & Todd Sinai, 2013. "Superstar Cities," American Economic Journal: Economic Policy, American Economic Association, vol. 5(4), pages 167-199, November.
    5. Ahlfeldt, Gabriel M., 2011. "Blessing or curse? Appreciation, amenities and resistance to urban renewal," Regional Science and Urban Economics, Elsevier, vol. 41(1), pages 32-45, January.
    6. Raven Molloy & Hui Shan, 2013. "The Postforeclosure Experience of U.S. Households," Real Estate Economics, American Real Estate and Urban Economics Association, vol. 41(2), pages 225-254, June.
    7. McKinnish, Terra & Walsh, Randall & Kirk White, T., 2010. "Who gentrifies low-income neighborhoods?," Journal of Urban Economics, Elsevier, vol. 67(2), pages 180-193, March.
    8. Michael Barton, 2016. "An exploration of the importance of the strategy used to identify gentrification," Urban Studies, Urban Studies Journal Limited, vol. 53(1), pages 92-111, January.
    9. Kathe Newman & Elvin K. Wyly, 2006. "The Right to Stay Put, Revisited: Gentrification and Resistance to Displacement in New York City," Urban Studies, Urban Studies Journal Limited, vol. 43(1), pages 23-57, January.
    10. Hal L. Kendig, 1984. "Housing Careers, Life Cycle and Residential Mobility: Implications for the Housing Market," Urban Studies, Urban Studies Journal Limited, vol. 21(3), pages 271-283, August.
    11. Lester, T. William & Hartley, Daniel A., 2014. "The long term employment impacts of gentrification in the 1990s," Regional Science and Urban Economics, Elsevier, vol. 45(C), pages 80-89.
    12. Kan, Kamhon, 1999. "Expected and Unexpected Residential Mobility," Journal of Urban Economics, Elsevier, vol. 45(1), pages 72-96, January.
    13. Donghoon Lee & Wilbert Van der Klaauw, 2010. "An introduction to the FRBNY Consumer Credit Panel," Staff Reports 479, Federal Reserve Bank of New York.
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    Blog mentions

    As found by, the blog aggregator for Economics research:
    1. Is Gentrification Good or Bad?
      by Jason Barr in Skynomics Blog on 2019-11-18 13:06:24


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    Cited by:

    1. repec:eee:socmed:v:199:y:2018:i:c:p:87-95 is not listed on IDEAS
    2. Ding, Lei & Nakamura, Leonard I., 2017. "“Don't Know What You Got Till It’s Gone” — The Effects of the Community Reinvestment Act (CRA) on Mortgage Lending in the Philadelphia Market," Working Papers 17-15, Federal Reserve Bank of Philadelphia.
    3. repec:dem:demres:v:41:y:2019:i:33 is not listed on IDEAS
    4. Jack DeWaard & Janna Johnson & Stephan Whitaker, 2019. "Internal migration in the United States: A comprehensive comparative assessment of the Consumer Credit Panel," Demographic Research, Max Planck Institute for Demographic Research, Rostock, Germany, vol. 41(33), pages 953-1006, October.
    5. repec:eee:jhouse:v:44:y:2019:i:c:p:35-47 is not listed on IDEAS

    More about this item


    D14; J11; J6; R23; Gentrification; Residential mobility; Neighborhood change; Displacement; Philadelphia;

    JEL classification:

    • D14 - Microeconomics - - Household Behavior - - - Household Saving; Personal Finance
    • J11 - Labor and Demographic Economics - - Demographic Economics - - - Demographic Trends, Macroeconomic Effects, and Forecasts
    • J6 - Labor and Demographic Economics - - Mobility, Unemployment, Vacancies, and Immigrant Workers
    • R23 - Urban, Rural, Regional, Real Estate, and Transportation Economics - - Household Analysis - - - Regional Migration; Regional Labor Markets; Population


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