The Effect of Incarceration on Residential Mobility between Poor and Nonpoor Neighborhoods


Cody Warner


City and Community


This study examines the impact of incarceration on residential mobility between poor and nonpoor neighborhoods. Formerly incarcerated individuals move at high rates, but little is known about if or how incarceration impacts movement between neighborhoods of varying quality. I ground my approach in traditional accounts of locational attainment that emphasize pathways and barriers between poor and nonpoor neighborhoods. Results show that incarceration leads to downward neighborhood mobility from nonpoor into poor neighborhoods. Incarceration does not appear to trap formerly incarcerated individuals in poor neighborhoods. Additional analyses show that the effect of incarceration is initially strongest among formerly incarcerated whites, but that there is significant racial variation in neighborhood mobility across time. My results provide evidence that incarceration should be placed alongside human capital characteristics and structural barriers as an important predictor of mobility between poor and nonpoor neighborhoods.



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