This paper follows this model by focusing on the entire childhood and adds to the existing literature in a number of ways. First, the long-run (adult) impacts of moving during childhood have not yet been established using high-quality longitudinal data that spans the entire life course from birth to adulthood. Second, there is limited empirical evidence bearing on the developmental timing of the links between moving and later-life achievement, health, and behavior. Finally, the causal linkages between childhood housing instability and later life outcomes have yet to be demonstrated.
This paper assesses the consequences of childhood residential moves over the years from birth to age 15 for a range of achievement outcomes measured as young as age 24 and as old as age 41. Using data from the Panel Study of Income Dynamics (PSID) of children born between 1968 and 1982, this study examines the relationship between the number, developmental timing, and nature of childhood moves and adult earnings, work hours, and educational attainment. On average, moving three or more times or experiencing any involuntary move between birth and age 15 is associated with worse outcomes in adulthood, especially in terms of educational attainment. The results further show the sensitivity of the middle childhood period (ages 6-10) to residential moves. In this period, any moves at all, whether voluntary or involuntary, are associated with worse outcomes on all three measures. The findings are generally robust to family fixed effects.