Life events and moves under duress: disruption in the life course and mobility outcomes


  • William A.V. Clark University of California, Los Angeles



Mobility, housing, life course, involuntary moves


There is a well-established body of research about the effect of life course changes on the probability of migration and mobility, and there is well-documented evidence of the link between specific life course events and tenure. Still, we have only a partial picture of what happens in the housing market when specific disruptive events impact families. This article reviews our broad understanding of life course triggering events and then examines just what happens when families move following a destabilising event (involuntary moves, loss of job, divorce and separation). Families can be variously affected by these disruptive events but the effects are greater for families at the margin, those who are renters, living in less advantaged neighbourhoods and with lower incomes. While these findings are not surprising, the size and likelihood of disruptive events is both larger than often reported, and increased during the housing crisis of 2006 to 2009.