Center for Studies in Demography and Ecology

Christine Leibbrand, Erin Carll, Hedwig Lee, and Angela Bruns Examine How Paternal Incarceration Influences Families’ Mobility Decisions and Neighborhood Outcomes

Posted: 12/6/2019 (CSDE Research)

It is often assumed that families rationally choose where to live and migrate. However, increasingly such decisions are constrained by societal factors outside of a family’s control. Therefore, Acting Assistant Professor of Sociology Christine Leibbrand (CSDE alum), CSDE Trainee Erin Carll, CSDE Regional Affiliate Hedwig Lee, and University of Michigan Postdoctoral Fellow Angela Bruns (CSDE alum) examine how paternal incarceration is one such societal factor that can constrain residential mobility decisions and influence families’ neighborhood contexts. The authors published their findings in an article for Social Science Research, Volume 84.

Using data from the Fragile Families and Child Wellbeing Study (FFCWS)—a longitudinal study following 5,000 individuals born between 1998 and 2000—the authors examine whether children with currently or formerly incarcerated fathers experience more residential instability and live in neighborhoods that are more socioeconomically disadvantaged.

They find that children under 18 years old with incarcerated fathers live in neighborhoods that are more socioeconomically disadvantaged and that paternal incarceration is associated with moving more frequently than children without incarcerated fathers. These results demonstrate that families of incarcerated fathers experience more residential instability negatively impacting the wellbeing of such families and children. The results also show the importance of considering incarceration as a societal factor influencing residential decisions and ability to live in socioeconomically advantaged neighborhoods—not only for those incarcerated, but also for their families.

UW News also featured the study, click this link to check it out.

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