Is the upheaval of moving home detrimental to young children’s development? Professor Heather Joshi and colleagues explore this question in the context of the US and UK.
Home moves in early years: the impact on children in the US and the UK
Professor Heather Joshi, CLS
Housing and local environment
May 2013 – June 2015
Economic and Social Research Council
The project is designed to establish how much and in what circumstances moving home can be said to harm or enhance child development, and the extent to which the greater rate of early years home moving in the US, compared to UK, may be reflected in greater difficulties for children. We ask whether transition towards a freer housing market in UK may have unintended effects on children.
We compare two large samples of families who had a baby around 2000: the Fragile Families and Wellbeing Study in US and the Millennium Cohort Study in UK. We will follow these families and where they lived up to age 5. There is a host of information about parental capabilities and circumstances which may help account for why they moved (or not) and how well their children progress. We will be able to gauge child progress in a comparable way on behavioural adjustment, verbal ability and their general health.
We will describe how many families, in each country, move home in a child’s first five years, when, how often, how far, and reasons given. We will classify moves as resulting in better or worse housing, parental employment or neighbourhood than the situation movers left behind, and compare movers with stayers. We then model the various precursors of moving and outcomes for children of various sorts of moves. The models will be as comparable as possible between two countries to see if the different residential stability regimes are reflected in different child outcomes. Care will be taken to derive indicators as closely comparable as possible on such key variables as neighbourhood quality and family poverty status.
Phone: 020 7612 6874
With a background in economic demography, notably on women’s lifetime incomes, Heather became the founder director of the Millennium Cohort Study (MCS), and of the Centre as a whole. She has retired from these roles but continues to provide advice within and beyond the department, based on that experience.
More recently Heather led a project, ‘Moving Home in the Early Years’ which compared the MCS with a cohort from the US. She is currently a co-investigator on two research projects about child development in the MCS: ‘Trajectories of Conduct Problems from Ages 3 to 11’ (Principle Investigator Leslie Gutman) and ‘Early family risk, school context, and children’s joint trajectories of cognitive ability and mental health’(Principal Investigator Eirini Flouri). In April 2017 Heather became the Executive Editor of the journal, Longitudinal and Lifecourse Studies.
Ludovica worked in CLS from 2013 to 2016, mainly on the Millennium Cohort Study and she continues to collaborate with researchers in CLS.
Her main areas of interest are inequalities in child development, early childhood education and care services, residential mobility.
Mary Clare Lennon is a professor at the Graduate Centre of the City University of New York (CUNY) in the PhD Program in Sociology and DPH Program in Public Health. She has recently been granted an award from the National Centre for Child Health and Human Development (NICHD) to analyze data from a US birth cohort study, the Fragile Families and Child Wellbeing Study, and is working with Prof. Heather Joshi to develop a comparative study of the US and UK, using Fragile Families and the Millennium Cohort Study to investigate childhood residential mobility. Funding for this collaboration has been received from the ESCR/SSRC Collaborative Visiting Fellowship Program.