Spatial Scale and Developmental Timing of Neighborhood Context and Child Cognitive and Noncognitive Outcomes

Michael R. Kramer , Emory University
Kaitlyn Stanhope, Emory University

Children’s cognitive and non-cognitive development varies by race, ethnicity, and class, and is predictive of adult health, social, and economic outcomes. Individual and family-level factors are important in child academic performance, but residential neighborhood may represent an important, policy-relevant, contributor to academic outcomes and disparities. In this paper, we use the Early Childhood Longitudinal Survey Kindergarten cohort of 1998, to estimate the relationship between residential environmental poverty concentration and child cognitive and non-cognitive developmental outcomes from kindergarten through 8th grade. We focus on whether residential environment affects child outcomes differently by age, by spatial scale of neighborhood measure, and whether racial disparities in outcomes are explained by residential environmental poverty. We find modest evidence for residential contextual effects on children at younger ages, with some variation by spatial scale and outcome. Neighborhood context is dynamic and multidimensional and predicts child cognitive and non-cognitive outcomes in complex ways.

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 Presented in Session 212. Neighborhood Influences on Children and Youth