A Systematic Review of Child Health, Developmental and Educational Outcomes Associated with High Mobility in Indigenous Children from Australia, Canada and New Zealand

Arwen Nikolof, Stephanie J. Brown, Yvonne Clark, Karen Glover, Deirdre Gartland

Research output: Contribution to journalReview articlepeer-review

2 Citations (Scopus)


Indigenous families tend to move house more often, especially families with young children. However, little is known about the impact of high mobility on children’s well-being and development. The aim of this systematic review was to examine the relationship between residential mobility and children’s health, developmental, and educational outcomes for Australian, Canadian, and New Zealand Indigenous children (0–12 years). Four databases were investigated with pre-determined inclusion and exclusion criteria. The search identified 243 articles after independent screening by two authors. Eight studies assessing four child health outcomes were included, six quantitative and two qualitative. Child health outcomes were classified into four broad categories—physical health, social and emotional behavior, learning and development, and developmental risk. The review identified limited evidence; possible links were identified between high mobility and emotional and behavioral difficulties for younger children. One study identified evidence of a linear relationship between the number of houses a child has lived in since birth and developmental risk. Further research is needed to fully understand the impact of high residential mobility for Indigenous children at different developmental stages. Prioritizing the involvement, collaboration, and empowerment of Indigenous communities and leadership is critical for future research.

Original languageEnglish
Article number4332
JournalInternational journal of environmental research and public health
Issue number5
Publication statusPublished or Issued - Mar 2023


  • Indigenous
  • children
  • development
  • families
  • health
  • insecure housing
  • moving house
  • residential mobility
  • social and emotional

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Pollution
  • Public Health, Environmental and Occupational Health
  • Health, Toxicology and Mutagenesis

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