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Residential Mobility Across Local Areas In The United States And The Geographic Distribution Of The Healthy Population

  • Arline T. Geronimus
  • John Bound
  • Annie Ro

Determining whether population dynamics provide competing explanations to place effects for observed geographic patterns of population health is critical for understanding health inequality. We focus on the working-age population where health disparities are greatest and analyze detailed data on residential mobility collected for the first time in the 2000 US census. Residential mobility over a 5-year period is frequent and selective, with some variation by race and gender. Even so, we find little evidence that mobility biases cross-sectional snapshots of local population health. Areas undergoing large or rapid population growth or decline may be exceptions. Overall, place of residence is an important health indicator; yet, the frequency of residential mobility raises questions of interpretation from etiological or policy perspectives, complicating simple understandings that residential exposures alone explain the association between place and health. Psychosocial stressors related to contingencies of social identity associated with being black, urban, or poor in the U.S. may also have adverse health impacts that track with structural location even with movement across residential areas.

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Paper provided by Center for Economic Studies, U.S. Census Bureau in its series Working Papers with number 14-14.

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Length: 55 pages
Date of creation: Feb 2014
Date of revision:
Handle: RePEc:cen:wpaper:14-14
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  1. Elo, Irma T. & Preston, Samuel H., 1996. "Educational differentials in mortality: United States, 1979-1985," Social Science & Medicine, Elsevier, vol. 42(1), pages 47-57, January.
  2. Alberto Palloni & Elizabeth Arias, 2004. "Paradox lost: Explaining the hispanic adult mortality advantage," Demography, Springer, vol. 41(3), pages 385-415, August.
  3. Norman, Paul & Boyle, Paul & Rees, Philip, 2005. "Selective migration, health and deprivation: a longitudinal analysis," Social Science & Medicine, Elsevier, vol. 60(12), pages 2755-2771, June.
  4. Nordstrom, Cheryl K. & Diez Roux, Ana V. & Jackson, Sharon A. & Gardin, Julius M., 2004. "The association of personal and neighborhood socioeconomic indicators with subclinical cardiovascular disease in an elderly cohort. The cardiovascular health study," Social Science & Medicine, Elsevier, vol. 59(10), pages 2139-2147, November.
  5. Halliday, Timothy J. & Kimmitt, Michael C., 2008. "Selective Migration and Health," IZA Discussion Papers 3458, Institute for the Study of Labor (IZA).
  6. Brimblecombe, Nic & Dorling, Danny & Shaw, Mary, 2000. "Migration and geographical inequalities in health in Britain," Social Science & Medicine, Elsevier, vol. 50(6), pages 861-878, March.
  7. Scott South & Kyle Crowder, 1997. "Residential mobility between cities and suburbs: race, suburbanization, and back-to-the-city moves," Demography, Springer, vol. 34(4), pages 525-538, November.
  8. Arline Geronimus & John Bound & Timothy Waidmann & Cynthia Colen & Dianne Steffick, 2001. "Inequality in life expectancy, functional status, and active life expectancy across selected black and white populations in the United States," Demography, Springer, vol. 38(2), pages 227-251, May.
  9. Mark Hayward & Melonie Heron, 1999. "Racial inequality in active life among adult americans," Demography, Springer, vol. 36(1), pages 77-91, February.
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