Better to Stay or Go? A Longitudinal Study of Mobility over the Compulsory Educational Life Course

Amy Sweet*, Richard Harris, David Manley

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to journalArticle (Academic Journal)peer-review

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There has been substantial discussion in the literature about where you grow up and if whether or not you experience social and spatial mobility during childhood has substantial bearing upon later life achievement (Pribesh and Downey Demography, 36, 21–534, 1999; Gasper et al. Social Science Research, 39(3), 459–476, 2010; Sharkey and Elwert American Journal of Sociology, 116(6), 1934-1981, 2011). This paper utilises data from the National Pupil Database (NPD) and a quantitative framework to explore the impact of residential mobility on educational outcomes. Many previous studies of neighbourhood mobility have used point in time measures when studying inequality, which means that an individual’s neighbourhood trajectory is overlooked. We follow a single cohort of pupils over an eleven year time period to analyse their mobility along with their individual characteristics to provide a clear understanding of who is moving and the association this has on them in terms of educational attainment. We also use the index of multiple deprivation (IMD) as a measure of neighbourhood deprivation to determine to what extent there is a trade up in terms of neighbourhood over the educational life course. Our findings show that moving home has a negative impact on educational attainment compared to those that stay in the same location throughout the educational life cycle. Those that ‘trade up’ in terms of quality of neighbourhood still do not achieve the same educational outcomes as their peers who live in a lower deprived neighbourhood throughout their schooling.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)697-717
Number of pages21
JournalApplied Spatial Analysis and Policy
Issue number3
Early online date1 Aug 2018
Publication statusPublished - 15 Sep 2019


  • Residential Mobility
  • Neighbourhood
  • Deprivation
  • Educational Attainment

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