Differences in Residential Stability by Rural/Urban Location and Socio-Demographic Characteristics


Living in the same home and community for a prolonged period of time is associated with increased social cohesion and better health outcomes. However, it may also be indicative of limited opportunities for mobility, especially for individuals with fewer financial resources and in communities with limited housing supply. This policy brief identifies rural/urban differences in residential stability and examines rural/urban differences in regional, socio-demographic, and health characteristics associated with living in the same home for more than 20 years.

Key Findings:

  • Rural residents are more likely than urban residents to have lived in their homes for more than 20 years (27% vs. 20%) and less likely to have lived in their homes for less than one year (10% vs. 12%).
  • Among adults who have lived in their home for more than 20 years, rural residents are more likely to have a disability (17% vs. 13%) and/or be in fair/poor health (24% vs. 17%) than urban residents.
  • There are also differences among rural residents by region and socio-demographic characteristics in the likelihood of having lived in one's home for more than 20 years. Some of the highest rates are seen among those living in the Northeast (31%), adults age 65+ (55%), American Indian/Alaska Native adults (40%), and those without a high school degree (35%).
University of Minnesota Rural Health Research Center
Carrie Henning-Smith, Mariana Tuttle, Alexis Swendener, Megan Lahr, Hawking Yam