New kid in town: Social capital and the life course effects of family migration on children

John Hagan*, Ross MacMillan, Blair Wheaton

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

291 Scopus citations


In a national and international economy that requires fluid movement of both labor and capital, it is important to know that families and other helping institutions can mitigate the losses of social capital that may accompany family migration. Coleman's (1990) theory of social capital emphasizes the roles of mothers and fathers in enhancing the life prospects of their children. However, Coleman's (1988) analysis of family migration and high school completion found an anomalous null effect of parental support. Elder's (1994) life course perspective on "linked lives" suggests that parental involvement with their children can have interactive effects as well as main effects in mitigating losses of community social capital resulting from a family's moves. Following this lead and using more elaborate measures, we find that the negative effects of family migration are significantly more pronounced in families with uninvolved fathers and unsupportive mothers. In these families the diminished social capital provided by parents does not compensate for the community social capital lost as a result of a family's move.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)368-385
Number of pages18
JournalAmerican Sociological Review
Issue number3
StatePublished - Jun 1996

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Sociology and Political Science


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