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Home moves in the early years: the impact on children in UK and US
£353,612, Economic and Social Research Council Research Question The project is designed to establish how much, and in what circumstances, moving home can be said to harm or enhance child development. It will also consider the extent to which the greater rate of early years home moving in the US, compared to the UK, may be reflected in greater difficulties for children. We ask whether transition towards a freer housing market in the UK may have unintended effects on children. Data Sources We compare two large samples of families who had a baby around 2000: the Fragile Families and Wellbeing study in the US and the Millennium Cohort Study in the UK. We will follow these families and where they lived, up to age 5. There is a host of information about parental capabilities and circumstances which may help account for why they moved (or not) and how well their children progress. We will be able to gauge child progress in a comparable way on behavioural adjustment, verbal ability and their general health. Analysis We will first describe how many families in each country move home in a child's first five years; when, how often, how far, and the reasons given. We will classify moves as resulting in better or worse housing, parental employment or neighbourhood, than the situation movers left behind, and compare movers with stayers. We then model the various precursors of moving, and outcomes for children of various sorts of moves. The models will be as comparable as possible between two countries to see if the different residential stability regimes are reflected in different child outcomes. Care will be taken to derive indicators as closely comparable as possible on such key variables as neighbourhood quality and family poverty status. Dissemination The resulting derived variables will be made available for use by other researchers, and introduced to them, along with findings in workshops in London and New York. Another event is planned to discuss the relevance of findings to British housing policy.
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