Special Issue "Exploring Residential Mobility in a Changing Society"

A special issue of Social Sciences (ISSN 2076-0760). This special issue belongs to the section "Community and Urban Sociology".

Deadline for manuscript submissions: 1 May 2024 | Viewed by 836

Special Issue Editor

Dr. Amy Spring
E-Mail Website
Guest Editor
Department of Sociology, Georgia State University, Atlanta, GA 30303, USA
Interests: community and urban sociology; demography; residential mobility; spatial inequality
Special Issues, Collections and Topics in MDPI journals

Special Issue Information

Dear Colleagues, 

Residential mobility is an enduring topic of study, perhaps because the causes and consequences of residential relocation are so varied across time, settings, and sociodemographic groups. Traditional human capital conceptualization sees residential mobility as a key mechanism for upward social and economic mobility. Under the right circumstances, moves can grant access to better employment, education, resources, and amenities. The absence of such upwardly mobile moves, or residential immobility, is often discussed in the context of negative outcomes for these families who are “stuck in place”. Frequent moves within a short period of time are also often discussed in the context of negative impacts on families and children, characterized as “residential instability”. However, in our changing society, are those conceptualizations accurate or outdated? A new trend of “mobile residentiality”, whereby some people abandon the concept of a permanent residence and seek residence only rarely or temporarily [1], challenges the notion of “instability”. Additionally, scholars are increasingly pointing to a “mobility bias” in residential mobility research and housing policy [2,3], whereby some reasons for immobility, such as social connections and residential rootedness, have been systemtically ignored. The human capital framework leaves little room to delve into the motivations, benefits, and drawbacks for those who move very frequently or very infrequently. The goal of this Special Issue is to publish papers that challenge and expand researchers’ and policymakers’ notions of residential (im)mobility. 

This Special Issue aims to highlight the changing landscape of residential mobility over time and across settings. For this Special Issue, residential mobility is conceptualized broadly as the degree to which individuals change their residence and can include short- or long-distance moves within a city, region, or country. Special Issue submissions should reflect on new trends and critical conceptualizations of residential (im)mobility, including, but not limited to, mobile residentiality, mobility bias, and residential rootedness. Submissions are encouraged from any social science discipline and methodological tradition, including qualitative, quantitative, or mixed-methods approaches. Papers should include a theoretical framework and empirical analysis. 


  1. Wang, Y. Residential mobility or mobile residentiality? Exploring the effects of place stability and variety in consumer psychology. Consum. Psychol. 202232(3), 537540.
  2. Schewel, K. Understanding immobility: Moving beyond the mobility bias in migration studies. Migr. Rev. 202054(2), 328355.
  3. Shelby, H. Why place really matters: A qualitative approach to housing preferences and neighborhood effects. Policy Debate 201727(4), 547569. 

Dr. Amy Spring
Guest Editor

Manuscript Submission Information

Manuscripts should be submitted online at www.mdpi.com by registering and logging in to this website. Once you are registered, click here to go to the submission form. Manuscripts can be submitted until the deadline. All submissions that pass pre-check are peer-reviewed. Accepted papers will be published continuously in the journal (as soon as accepted) and will be listed together on the special issue website. Research articles, review articles as well as short communications are invited. For planned papers, a title and short abstract (about 100 words) can be sent to the Editorial Office for announcement on this website.

Submitted manuscripts should not have been published previously, nor be under consideration for publication elsewhere (except conference proceedings papers). All manuscripts are thoroughly refereed through a double-blind peer-review process. A guide for authors and other relevant information for submission of manuscripts is available on the Instructions for Authors page. Social Sciences is an international peer-reviewed open access monthly journal published by MDPI.

Please visit the Instructions for Authors page before submitting a manuscript. The Article Processing Charge (APC) for publication in this open access journal is 1400 CHF (Swiss Francs). Submitted papers should be well formatted and use good English. Authors may use MDPI's English editing service prior to publication or during author revisions.


  • residential mobility
  • residential immobility
  • internal migration
  • mobility bias
  • residential instability
  • housing

Published Papers (1 paper)

Order results
Result details
Select all
Export citation of selected articles as:


19 pages, 359 KiB  
Stuck or Rooted? Perspectives on the Residential Immobility of Children in the U.S. from Poor Neighborhoods and Implications for Policy
Soc. Sci. 2023, 12(10), 553; https://doi.org/10.3390/socsci12100553 - 02 Oct 2023
Viewed by 615
Families relocating from concentrated poverty neighborhoods is somewhat rare, either due to structural constraints that limit mobility or the disincentive to leave dense social networks built over time. Researchers previously juxtaposed these two experiences as either “stuck” or “rooted”. We advance a critical [...] Read more.
Families relocating from concentrated poverty neighborhoods is somewhat rare, either due to structural constraints that limit mobility or the disincentive to leave dense social networks built over time. Researchers previously juxtaposed these two experiences as either “stuck” or “rooted”. We advance a critical take on both perspectives by demonstrating the heterogeneity of life in disadvantaged neighborhoods for Black urban youth. We utilize data from the Panel Study of Income Dynamics and the 1997 Child Development Supplement to investigate contextual immobility, barriers to moving, and self-reported levels of neighborhood social ties to critique prior research and emergent policy that categorizes disadvantaged populations as “stuck” or “rooted”. Our findings demonstrate that immobility is most strongly associated with the household head lacking a high school education and with knowing more children’s names in the neighborhood. Thus, immobility is associated with structural barriers to moving and social rootedness. We discuss how current policy strategies do not effectively address this duality. We conclude that policy strategies should facilitate intragenerational mobility through housing choice, including the choice to remain in the neighborhood. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Exploring Residential Mobility in a Changing Society)
Back to TopTop