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J Gerontol B Psychol Sci Soc Sci. 2016 Nov;71(6):1131-1140. Epub 2016 Jun 2.

Racial Differences in the Effects of Neighborhood Disadvantage on Residential Mobility in Later Life.

Author information

1
Department of Sociology, University of Chicago, Illinois.
2
Academic Research Center, NORC at the University of Chicago, Illinois. Hawkley-louise@norc.org.

Abstract

OBJECTIVES:

Past research on the residential mobility of older adults has focused on individual-level factors and life course events. Less attention has been paid to the role of the residential environment in explaining residential mobility in older adults. We sought to understand whether neighborhood disadvantage had predictive utility in explaining residential relocation patterns, and whether associations differed between Whites and non-Whites.

METHOD:

Data are from the National Social Life, Health and Aging Project, a nationally representative sample of community-dwelling older adults. Neighborhoods were defined at the census tract level. Local movers (different census tract, same county) and distant movers (different county) were compared with stayers.

RESULTS:

After adjusting for individual-level factors, neighborhood disadvantage increased the likelihood of a local move, regardless of race/ethnicity. For non-Whites, higher neighborhood disadvantage decreased the likelihood of a distant move. Among local movers, Blacks and Latinos were less likely to improve neighborhood quality than Whites.

DISCUSSION:

Neighborhood disadvantage may promote local mobility by undermining person-environment fit. Racial differences in access to better neighborhoods persist in later life. Future research should explore how older adults optimize person-environment fit in the face of neighborhood disadvantage when the possibility of relocation to a better neighborhood may be restricted.

KEYWORDS:

Neighborhood inequality; Person–environment fit; Race differences

PMID:
27257227
PMCID:
PMC5067942
DOI:
10.1093/geronb/gbw064
[Indexed for MEDLINE]
Free PMC Article

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