Residential Mobility and Migration


Kyle Crowder, Western Washington University

Learning Goals


  • Practice collapsing and omitting categories of variables.
  • Develop hypotheses based on an existing theory.
  • Identify independent and dependent variables implied in an hypothesis.
  • Investigate and describe the relationship between two variables and assess whether the relationship supports or contradicts the hypothesis being tested.
  • Understand the criteria for causation and the rationale for including control variables.
  • Investigate and describe a partial relationship between two variables.


  • Explore the basic patterns and determinants of residential mobility and migration.
Context for Use

This activity is used in an Introduction to Populations Issues class for undergraduate students. This activity looks at education, marital status, age and race to explore migration trends in the United States.

Description and Teaching Materials

Please see File Attachment(s).

In this module you will have the opportunity to explore the frequency of different types of residential moves carried out by Americans. You will examine some of the basic determinants of residential mobility by looking at variations in different types of mobility by age, marital status, education, and housing tenure. Finally, you will have an opportunity to test hypotheses, drawn from a popular theoretical perspective, about racial differences in residential mobility.

Teaching Notes and Tips

This activity uses eight customized data sets made from the 1990 census. It guides students through data manipulation using WebCHIP software found at DataCounts!. To open WebCHIP with the dataset for the activity, please see instructions and links in the exercise documents under teaching materials. For more information on how to use WebCHIP, see the How To section on DataCounts!