Assessing the Benefits of a Rising Tide

Educational Attainment and Increases in Neighborhood Socioeconomic Advantage

Published in: Social Science Research Volume 62 (February 2017), Pages 335-349. doi: 10.1016/j.ssresearch.2016.08.015

Posted on RAND.org on August 18, 2017

by William R. Johnston

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An emerging approach to studying associations between neighborhood contexts and educational outcomes is to estimate the outcomes of adolescents growing up in neighborhoods that are experiencing economic growth in comparison to peers that reside in economically stable or declining communities. Using data from the National Longitudinal Study of Adolescent Health (Add Health), I examine the association between education attainment and changes in socioeconomic advantage in urban neighborhoods between 1990 and 2000. I find that residing in a neighborhood that experiences economic improvements has a positive association with educational attainment for urban adolescents. Furthermore, race-based analyses suggest consistently positive associations for all race subgroups, lending support to protective models of neighborhood effects that argue high neighborhood SES supports positive outcomes for adolescents residing in these contexts.

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