Exploring the Impact and Implications of Residential Mobility: From the Neighborhood to the School

  • Robin L. Ersing University of South Florida
  • Richard Sutphen University of Kentucky
  • Diane Nicole Loeffler University of Kentucky
Keywords: residential mobility, children and families, education


This cross-sectional study examines residential relocation among a cohort of 495 fifth graders in one urban community in the Southeastern U.S. The impact of residential mobility is discussed in relation to student/family outcomes as well as the stressors placed upon schools. Results support previous findings which suggest residential relocation is correlated with academic problems. In addition, highly mobile students are twice as likely to be referred by teachers for disciplinary intervention and families are five times more likely than their residentially stable counterparts to be involved with child protective services. Implications from this study address the need for school systems, including school social workers, to look beyond the classroom to understand and respond to the needs of highly mobile families.

Author Biographies

Robin L. Ersing, University of South Florida
Assistant Professor, University of South Florida School of Social Work
Richard Sutphen, University of Kentucky
Associate Professor, University of Kentucky College of Social Work
Diane Nicole Loeffler, University of Kentucky
Lecturer, College of Social Work at the University of Kentucky