This research investigates the extent to which racial and ethnic inequality in children’s neighborhood socioeconomic status (SES) is exacerbated or attenuated via two mechanisms: changing neighborhood characteristics for residentially nonmobile children, and differences in the SES of destination versus origin neighborhoods for residentially mobile children. I use longitudinal data to estimate year-to-year change via these two mechanisms in four measures of neighborhood SES for white, black, and Latino children. I find that nonmobile white children experience greater improvement in neighborhood SES than statistically comparable black and Latino children. However, I find lower levels of inequality in neighborhood SES returns to residential mobility; in fact, in many cases those returns are greater for minority children than for white children. These findings suggest that continued inequality in children’s neighborhood contexts is not due primarily to inequality in outcomes of residential moves, but rather to the greater tendency of white children to reside in neighborhoods with higher levels of SES, and the greater likelihood of those neighborhoods to maintain or improve their levels of SES over time.
Population Research and Policy Review – Springer Journals
Published: May 6, 2008
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