Residential Mobility and Reasons for Moving Among People Living With Spinal Cord Injury: Results of a Multisite Survey Study

Amanda L. Botticello, Lauren F. Murphy, Michael Boninger, Thomas N. Bryce, Susan Charlifue, Jennifer Coker, Mary Joan Roach, Michael Scott, Lynn Worobey

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review


Background: Residential mobility after spinal cord injury (SCI) has not been extensively examined despite a growing interest in investigating the relationship between neighborhood exposures and community living outcomes. Objectives: This study explores residential mobility patterns, the annual move rate, and reasons for moving among a community-living sample of adults with SCI. Methods: A survey was conducted with 690 people at six SCI Model Systems centers in the United States between July 2017 and October 2020. The outcomes included move status in the past 12 months, move distance, and the primary reason for moving. A sample from the 2019 American Community Survey (ACS) 5-year pooled estimates was obtained for comparative analysis. Descriptive statistics were used to summarize the distributions of the outcomes and differences between the samples. Results: The annual move rate for adults with SCI was 16.4%, and most moves were within the same county (56.6%). Recent movers were more likely to be young adults, be newly injured, and have low socioeconomic status. Housing quality, accessibility, and family were more frequently reported motivations for moving compared to employment. Young adults more commonly moved for family and accessibility, whereas middle-aged adults more commonly moved for housing quality. No notable difference was observed in the annual move rate between the SCI and the general population samples. Conclusion: These findings suggest an age-related pattern of residential relocation after SCI, which may be indicative an extended search for optimal living conditions that meet the housing and accessibility needs of this population.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)108-121
Number of pages14
JournalTopics in Spinal Cord Injury Rehabilitation
Issue number4
StatePublished - 1 Sep 2023
Externally publishedYes


  • community living
  • housing
  • mobility disability
  • residential mobility
  • spinal cord injuries


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