When families must move involuntarily, all kinds of issues happen, especially when compared with families who moved voluntarily in the previous year.
Families may be forced to move for a variety of reasons. There may be a change in the household through marriage, separation, or divorce. A family may be unable to pay their housing costs because of job loss, increased rent, or illness. The household may have no family member or friend to whom they can turn for intermediate help. In other words, they have no safety net. Some families may have to move for transportation issues in order to be closer to work. Others are forced to move because the landlord has been cited for code violations and the house is no longer safe for residents. This may include lead paint or mold.

When families must move involuntarily, there is a greater likelihood that they have less than a high school diploma when compared with families that move voluntarily or do not move. A higher percentage of involuntary movers have experienced a job loss or poor physical or mental health when compared with voluntary or non-movers. Involuntary movers have significantly higher probability of having a substance abuse problem or experiencing domestic violence than voluntary movers.

The children of involuntary movers are almost twice as likely as voluntary movers to have excessive absences from school as well as in the frequency of their absences.

*The background for this posting comes from Rebecca Cohen and Keith Wardrip, “Should I Stay or Should I Go?” a report from the Center for Housing Policy and MacArthur Foundation, Feb. 2011.

For a study guide to help you learn more about the effects of frequent moving on children, see Angelika’s Journal available at oureyeswereopened.org, avenidabooks.com, Fiction Addiction, and at online retailers.

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