13 HOUSING, NEIGHBOURHOOD AND RESIDENTIAL MOBILITY
13.1 This section focuses on residential mobility between MCS2 and MCS3 and families' perceptions of their area in terms of whether it was a good area for raising children and how safe they felt the area was. Families with young children had relatively high rates of residential mobility (Plewis et al., forthcoming). The residentially mobile are more likely to be non-respondents, even after controlling for a range of background variables (Plewis et al., forthcoming). Residential mobility presents a major challenge for the fieldwork and analysis of longitudinal studies, especially for birth cohort studies such as the MCS, and poses questions about the representativeness of the study.
Residential mobility MCS sweeps 2 to 3
13.2 Residential mobility (based on MCS address records) between sweeps 2 and 3, when the cohort child was between around three years old and around five years old, respectively, was substantially lower than residential mobility between sweeps 1 and 2 (24% versus 38%). However, mobility was higher in Scotland (28%) than in England (23%), Wales (19%) and the UK as a whole (24%) between MCS2 and MCS3 ( Table 13.1).
Correlates of residential mobility
13.3 Homeowners were less likely to move than tenants ( Table 13.2). Just over half of those renting privately (52%) moved, with those in social housing (renting from a local authority or housing association) less likely to move (28%). Families in houses or bungalows were much less likely to move than those in a flat or maisonette or other type of accommodation, such as a studio flat, room or bedsit ( Table 13.4).
13.4 Families where both the main respondent and their partner were employed, or where one or other parent was employed, were much less likely to move than families with no earner or where the main respondent (usually the mother) was a lone parent (either employed or not) ( Table 13.6).
Perceptions of the area
13.5 Few respondents (5%) reported their current area was a poor or very poor area for raising children ( Table 13.8). Parents in Scotland were significantly more likely than those in England to perceive the area they live in as 'excellent' for raising children.
13.6 Families where both the main respondent and their partner were not employed, or where a lone parent was not employed, were less likely to perceive their area as being excellent for raising children, compared to families where someone was employed or a lone parent was employed ( Table 13.9).
13.7 Respondents were also asked "how safe do you feel this area is"? ( Table 13.11). Respondents in Scotland (41%) were more likely than those in England (31%) to say they felt very safe, but less likely than those in Northern Ireland (55%).