Perhaps the most alarming phenomenon in American cities has been the transformation of many neighborhoods into isolated ghettos where poverty is the norm and violent crime, drug use, out-of-wedlock births, and soaring school dropout rates are rampant. Public concern over these destitute areas has focused on their most vulnerable inhabitants—children and adolescents. How profoundly does neighborhood poverty endanger their well-being and development? Is the influence of neighborhood more powerful than that of the family? Neighborhood Poverty: Context and Consequences for Children approaches these questions with an insightful and wide-ranging investigation into the effect of community poverty on children's physical health, cognitive and verbal abilities, educational attainment, and social adjustment.
This two-volume set offers the most current research and analysis from experts in the fields of child development, social psychology, sociology and economics. Drawing from national and city-based sources, Volume I reports the empirical evidence concerning the relationship between children and community. As the essays demonstrate, poverty entails a host of problems that affects the quality of educational, recreational, and child care services. Poor neighborhoods usually share other negative features—particularly racial segregation and a preponderance of single mother families—that may adversely affect children. Yet children are not equally susceptible to the pitfalls of deprived communities. Neighborhood has different effects depending on a child's age, race, and gender, while parenting techniques and a family's degree of community involvement also serve as mitigating factors.
Volume II incorporates empirical data on neighborhood poverty into discussions of policy and program development. The contributors point to promising community initiatives and suggest methods to strengthen neighborhood-based service programs for children. Several essays analyze the conceptual and methodological issues surrounding the measurement of neighborhood characteristics. These essays focus on the need to expand scientific insight into urban poverty by drawing on broader pools of ethnographic, epidemiological, and quantitative data. Volume II explores the possibilities for a richer and more well-rounded understanding of neighborhood and poverty issues.
To grasp the human cost of poverty, we must clearly understand how living in distressed neighborhoods impairs children's ability to function at every level. Neighborhood Poverty explores the multiple and complex paths between community, family, and childhood development. These two volumes provide and indispensable guide for social policy and demonstrate the power of interdisciplinary social science to probe complex social issues. (author abstract)
Table of Contents
Introduction - Martha Gephart and Jeanne Brooks-Gunn
Chapter 1: Neighborhoods and Communities as Contexts for Development - Martha Gephart
Chapter 2: Development in Context: Implications for Studying Neighborhood Effects - J. Lawrence Aber, Martha Gephart, Jeanne Brooks-Gunn, and James Connell
Chapter 3: Neighborhood Models and Measures - Greg Duncan and J. Lawrence Aber
Chapter 4: Neighborhood and Family Influences on the Intellectual and Behavioral Competence of Preschool and Early School-Age Children - P. Lindsay Chase-Lansdale, Rachel Gordon, Jeanne Brooks-Gunn, and Pamela Klebanov
Chapter 5: Are Neighborhood Effects on Young Children Mediated by Features of the Home Environment? - Pamela Klebanov, Jeanne Brooks-Gunn, P. Lindsay Chase-Lansdale, and Rachel Gordon
Chapter 6: Neighborhood and Family Factors Predicting Educational Risk and Attainment in African American and White Children and Adolescents - Bonnie Halpern-Felsher, James Connell, Margaret Beale Spencer, J. Lawrence Aber, Greg Duncan, Elizabeth Clifford, Warren Crichlow, Peter Usinger, Steven Cole, LaRue Allen, and Edward Seidman
Chapter 7: How Neighborhoods Affect Educational Outcomes in Middle Childhood and Adolescence: Conceptual Issues and an Empirical Example - James Connell and Bonnie Halpern-Felsher
Chapter 8: Neighborhood and Family Influences on Young Urban Adolescents' Behavior Problems: A Multisample, Multisite Analysis - Margaret Beale Spencer, Steven Cole, Stephanie Jones, and Dena Phillips Swanson
Chapter 9: Conceptual and Methodological Issues in Estimating Casual Effects of Neighborhoods and Family Conditions on Individual Development - Greg Duncan, James Connell, and Pamela Klebanov
Chapter 10: Neighborhood Effects and Federal Policy - Jeffrey Lehman and Timothy Smeeding
Chapter 11: Lessons Learned and Future Directions for Research on the Neighborhoods in Which Children Live - Jeanne Brooks-Gunn, Greg Duncan, Tama Leventhal, and J. Lawrence Aber