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Think Twice Before Calling the Movers

Even if you're planning a move to a more upscale neighborhood.
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(Photo: iStockPhoto)

(Photo: iStockPhoto)

Want to increase the odds your child will graduate from high school? Don’t move. That is, resist the temptation to uproot your family and relocate to another city or neighborhood.

As part of the National Longitudinal Study of Adolescent Health, a nationally representative survey that followed seventh- to 12th-graders in the mid-1990s into their young-adult years, researchers asked students whether they had moved to a new residence during the previous year.

A team led by Washington University’s Molly Metzger reports that, after accounting for other relevant variables (including a divorce in the family), adolescents who answered “yes” were approximately 50 percent less likely to have obtained a high school diploma by age 25. This held true even if the family moved to a more upscale neighborhood.

In the journal Social Science Research, the scholars call this a reminder that “youth transitioning to adulthood ... tend to lean on informal supports more than institutional resources.” Moving often means kicking those supports away, which can have profoundly negative results.

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