The racial demographics of each income bracket vary. Higher-income movers are less racially diverse than lower-income movers.
Splitting the chart above by racial group, we can see how likely a family is to move given their race and their incomes. We can see that the groups most likely to move neighborhoods for better schools are white and Asian families with a six-figure household income.
The public NCES survey data doesn’t include precise location data, but it does provide the type of neighborhood where these families live. It’s not surprising to see that most movers head for the suburbs. For clarification on what separates a “suburb, large” from a “town, distant” check out their definitions on the NCES website.
This chart shows the volume of movers by their chosen destination and their household income. It’s pretty clear that affluent families overwhelmingly choose to move to either suburbs or “rural, fringe” areas, defined as:
Census-defined rural territory that is less than or equal to 5 miles from an urbanized area, as well as rural territory that is less than or equal to 2.5 miles from an urban cluster
For lower-income families, suburbs are still a popular destination, but they are much more likely to choose cities or towns.
Mover destinations by race reveal a consistent preference for suburbs, with varying degrees of preference for other destination types.
I’ve only scratched the surface of what we can learn from this particular survey. It has a lot more information I’d like to investigate, including parents’ views on school quality, if their students are in their first-choice school, and more. The survey has also been administered in 2007, 2005, and 2003, so it would be interesting to track some of these patterns on both sides of the Great Recession.
Publicly-available education data is pretty cool.