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Neighborhood Poverty and Children's Academic Skills and Behavior in Early Elementary School

Journal Title Journal of Marriage and Family
Published Date August 24, 2017
Research Topic
Research Type
Authors Katie Vinopal


Neighborhoods provide resources that may affect children's cognitive and behavioral outcomes. However, it is unclear to what degree associations between neighborhood disadvantage and outcomes persist into elementary school and whether neighborhood disadvantage interacts with household disadvantage. Using data from the 2010–2011 Early Childhood Longitudinal Study‐Kindergarten Cohort (N = 15,100 children) merged with census data from the American Community Survey, this study examines associations between neighborhood poverty and children's math, reading, and behavioral outcomes at kindergarten and first and second grades. Findings indicate that as tract‐level poverty increases, children's achievement worsens after controlling for child and family characteristics. These associations persist into second grade and are stronger for children in poor versus nonpoor households. Findings suggest that neighborhood disadvantage may contribute to poorer achievement scores, particularly among children with few household resources, but that household disadvantage and other characteristics largely explain behavioral outcomes. Research and policy implications are discussed.

Morrissey, T. W., & Vinopal, K. M. (2018).  Neighborhood poverty and children's academic skills and behavior in early elementary school. Journal of Marriage and Family, 80(1), 182-197.