Connected with bad housing, both as cause and effect, is the shiftlessness of a large proportion of many new urban populations. Where housing conditions are unsuited to family life, the worker is discouraged from bringing his family into the industrial area; he does not feel permanently settled in the area of his place of work and remains tied to his former community. Even when there are housing opportunities, industrial workers of peasant origin often fail to become integrated and assimilated into modern urban society and the stream of urban life; instead they tend to form a sub-culture of low status, living separately in special quarters and pursuing a mode of life that is half urban, half rural.
Increasingly cities and suburbs are made of newcomers, many of which perceive their residence at any particular location to be temporary. Status is in some countries associated less with the amount of time that a person has been resident in a community and more with the frequency with which that person has moved to a new community (provided that such movement can be associated with upward mobility). Few families therefore have roots in suburban towns; many assume that they, or their children, will move to some other location. Many families are in consequence the residue of nuclear families, since the children or the parents tend to live elsewhere. Many such communities are consequently unable to build a stable social structure, especially one capable of assisting those in need.
It is the mover - the restless, never-satisfied, status-seeking consumer - who has been the backbone of a number of successful industrial economies, notably in North America. Such mobility is not only a result of national wealth but a basic cause of it. The fierce desire for self-betterment creates a market for business and catalyzes a prosperity which would otherwise appear improbable.