In a newly published article, ‘Should I stay or should I go? The association between upward socio-economic neighbourhood change and moving propensities’ in Environment and Planning A: Economy and Space, Ad Coenen, Pieter-Paul Verhaeghe and Bart Van de Putte link upward change in low-income neighbourhoods to the propensity to move based on dissatisfaction with the neighbourhood or the home of both lower- or middle-educated people and higher-educated people living in these neighbourhoods.
Previous research on gentrification almost exclusively focussed on either the gentrifiers or those who are displaced. Those who manage to avoid displacement remain understudied. To shed new light on these original inhabitants, we link upward change in low-income neighbourhoods, measured by the changing socio-economic composition of the neighbourhood, to the propensity to move based on dissatisfaction with the neighbourhood or the home of both lower- or middle-educated people and higher-educated people living in these neighbourhoods. We perform binary logistic multi-level analyses on the Liveability Monitor of Ghent (N = 1037), a midsized city in Belgium. We find that upward neighbourhood change is associated with a higher propensity to move based on dissatisfaction with the home for both the lower- and higher-educated original inhabitants. Focusing on dissatisfaction with the neighbourhood, we find no association between moving propensities and the neighbourhood someone lives in. We therefore conclude that it is not the evaluation of the neighbourhood but the evaluation of one’s own house in an improving neighbourhood that is associated with higher moving propensities, for both higher and lower educated respondents. Displacement pressures based on rising housing prices might lead to these moving propensities, but it seems likely that there are other factors at play too, like, e.g. life cycle mobility. We therefore also conclude that both lower- and higher-educated inhabitants of improving neighbourhoods deserve academic attention.