chapter  9
22 Pages

Moving on Up: Neighborhood Effects on Children and Families

Socioeconomic (SES) disparities in well-being have prompted both empirical inquiry and policy attention (Keating & Hertzman, 1999). SES inequities have been documented across most domains of development--cognition/achievement, physical health, and emotional well-being-and across the lifespan for children, youth, and adults (Brooks-Gunn & Duncan, 1997; Duncan & Brooks-Gunn, 1997; Haveman & Wolfe, 1994). Consideration of the role of neighborhood residence as a contributor to SES differentials has been raised. Neighborhood residence may be a source of SES disparities, as a family's resources constrain where they live (Massey & Denton, 1993; Wilson, 1987, 1997). An alternative, yet complementary view, posits that inequities in family SES are transmitted to parents and their children through various mechanisms or processes (i.e., effect indirect), one of which may be neighborhood residence (Brooks-Gunn, Duncan, & Aber 1997a, 1997b; Jencks & Mayer, 1990). In general, studies on child development find that neighborhood conditions, particularly SES, are accounted for, in part, by family SES, yet also have an independent effect on child and adolescent outcomes (Leventhal & Brooks-Gunn, 2000).