Stockholm University
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Supermovers? Childhood internal mobility in Sweden

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posted on 2024-02-23, 06:46 authored by Karen Haandrikman, Joeke Kuyvenhoven

Sweden is known for its high residential mobility rates, especially among families. Moving in childhood may be associated with negative health and educational outcomes in adulthood, and effects tend to be larger for children who move frequently. Moving frequently is more common among children in families experiencing instability, poverty and with a migrant background. This paper is concerned with supermovers, children who move three times or more in childhood, in Sweden. The aim is to examine the extent to which recent cohorts of children are supermovers, and whether the frequency of moves is associated to migrant background, family stability and parental socioeconomic status. We also explore whether supermovers are more likely to move longer distances and move to worse neighbourhoods compared to those moving once or twice, as this might exacerbate the impact on later-life outcomes for these children. We use longitudinal register data, comparing the cohorts of children born in 1990 and 2000, following them from age 0 to 16. We find that it is very common for children to move: more than 70 percent of children moves at least once, while about a quarter of children can be labelled as supermovers across cohorts. Children with a migrant background, especially those from the Middle East, are more likely to be supermovers than other children, and are more likely to move longer distances. Children experiencing parental union dissolution are not only more likely to move but also to move very frequently. Socioeconomically disadvantaged children are more often supermovers, while children with high educated parents more often move a few times. Children move at all ages, but especially so before starting primary school. Most children move to better neighbourhoods, though supermovers are more likely to move to lower income neighbourhoods. Together, there are signs of childhood mobility being stratified by migrant background, family instability and parental socioeconomic status, implying that children in vulnerable situations face additional instability due to moving very frequently.


Migrant Trajectories: Geographical Mobility, Family Careers, Employment, Education, and Social Insurance in Sweden, 1990-2016

Swedish Research Council for Health Working Life and Welfare

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The Neighborhood Revisited: Spatial polarization and social cohesion in contemporary Sweden

Bank of Sweden Tercentenary Foundation

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MyMove project funded by the European Research Council (ERC) under the European Union’s Horizon 2020 research and innovation programme (grant agreement number 819298, PI: Helga A.G. de Valk).




Original title

Supermovers? Childhood internal mobility in Sweden

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  • English

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