Household Change and Housing Instability
New research published in Urban Affairs Review examines the correlation between household composition changes and housing instability. The study, conducted by Matthew Desmond and Kristin Perkins of Harvard University, used data on recent movers from the Milwaukee Area Renters Study (MARS). The MARS sample includes 1,086 renters in privately-owned properties, including those with government subsidies. When limited to those who moved recently, the sample includes 569 households. The survey collected complete rosters of adults and children in the current residence, as well as the rosters from prior residences over the past two years.
- In more than half of the cases, the composition of adults in the household changed when the household moved.
- Fifty-eight percent of mover households without children experienced a change in household composition that coincided with the move.
- Among mover households with at least one child under the age of two, 89 percent experienced a change in the adult members of the household at the time of the move.
- Among mover households with at least one child between the ages of 12 and 17, 36 percent experienced a change in the adults in the household.
- The most common type of household change is leaving the family to live on one’s own.
- Renters with children younger than two were significantly more likely than others to have a household composition change that accompanied a move, while those with children ages 12 to 17 were less likely to experience household change.
- Single-adult households are the most likely to retain their composition during a move.