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4 The Social Consequences of Growing Up in a Poor Neighborhood CHRISTOPHER JENCKS AND SUSAN E. MAYER INTRODUCTION Children from affluent schools know more, stay in school longer, and end up with better jobs than children from schools that enroll mostly poor children. Children who live in affluent neighborhoods also get into less trouble with the law and have fewer illegitimate children than children who live in poor neighborhoods. Similar patterns are found when we compare white neighborhoods to black neighborhoods. These patterns have convinced many social scientists, policy analysts, and ordinary citizens that a neighborhood or school's social composition really influences children's life chances. But this need not be the case. The differences we observe could simply reflect the fact that children from affluent families do better than children from poor families no matter where they live. Similarly, white children may fare better than black children regardless of their neighborhood's racial mix. In order to determine how much a neighborhood or school's mean socioeconomic status (SES) affects a child's life chances, we need to compare children from similar families who grew up in different kinds of neighborhoods. This study examines what social scientists have learned from studies of this kind. We give considerable attention to the policy implications of the studies we discuss. Many observers (notably ~ Wilson, 1987) believe that when poor children have predominantly poor neighbors, their chances of escaping from poverty decline. If this is so, a strong case can be made for govern- mental efforts to reduce the geographic isolation of poor children. Yet such evidence as we have suggests that the poor or at least poor blacks are becoming more geographically isolated rather than less so (Jargowsky and Bane, in this volume; Massey and Eggers, 1990; Weicher, in this volume). 111

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112 INNER-CITY POVERTY IN THE UNITED STATES At present, the main goal of federal subsidies for low-income housing is to build as many low-income units as possible for as little money as possible. The best way to achieve this goal is usually to build in low- income neighborhoods. As a result, federal subsidies are quite likely to increase economic segregation. If the federal government wanted to reduce economic segregation, it would either have to help poor families move to better neighborhoods or encourage more affluent families to remain in poor neighborhoods (perhaps through mortgage subsidies). In assessing these policy alternatives, it is important to ask how they will affect both rich and poor children. We cannot answer that question, because social scientists have not yet accumulated the information we would need to answer it. The best we can do is summarize the available evidence and offer some guidelines for interpreting it. We focus on quantitative studies that try to separate neighborhood or school effects from family effects through statistical analysis of survey data. We ignore qualitative studies, not because we think them incapable of answering the question that concerns us but because we found no qualitative research that tried to answer this question. The ethnographic studies we reviewed never tried to compare children from similar families who lived in different neighborhoods. Nor did they follow families as they moved from one neighborhood to another, describing how the moves affected the children. As a result, they cannot help us disentangle neighborhood or school effects from family effects. Our definition of a "neighborhood" is very broad. We include elemen- tary school attendance areas, which usually coincide fairly closely with what people mean by a neighborhood (hence the term "neighborhood schools. But we also include high school attendance areas, which are usually larger than what most people mean by a neighborhood. We include research on the effect of living in one kind of census tract rather than another, even though census tracts are much smaller than elementary school attendance areas. And we also include research that uses postal zip codes to define neighborhoods, even though zip code areas are likely to be somewhat larger than a traditional neighborhood. Although our definition of a neighborhood is broad, it is always ge- ographic rather than social. We have not tried to review the effects of nongeographic communities of various kinds, such as friendship networks. Nor have we tried to review the work of social psychologists on the way "so- cial context" affects behavior. Readers should not interpret these omissions as an implicit judgment that nongeographic communities or social contexts are less important than geographic communities. The available evidence suggests the contrary. When placed in a room with a group of stooges who claim that the longer of two lines is the shorter, for example, most experimental subjects will reject the evidence of their senses and agree with

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oROwING uP IN A POOR NEIGHgoRHooD 113 the stooges (Asch, 1951~. This demonstrates that individuals seldom defy the unanimous opinion of others, at least in the short run. The relevance of this fact to the study of geographic communities is minimal, however, because geographic communities are never completely homogeneous. The experiment just described shows that homogeneity is crucial, for when even one stooge concedes that the longer line is indeed longer, most subjects give the correct answer. When the opinions of others vary, in other words, individuals do more than just count noses and espouse the news of the majority. The principal conclusion we draw from work like Asch's is that the way social context influences individual behavior varies with the problem the individual confronts, his or her experience, and the mix of opinions and role models available in a given social context. This variability makes it almost impossible to generalize from laboratory experiments to neighborhood or school settings. There are currently three schools of thought about how the social composition of a neighborhood or school affects young people's behavior. Most Americans assume that advantaged neighbors or classmates encourage "good" behavior. A few assume that advantaged neighbors or classmates encourage "bad" behavior. And some assume that advantaged neighbors or classmates have no effect one way or the other. Each of these three schools of thought is compatible with a varietr of theories about the mechanisms by which neighborhoods and schools influence individuals. We take up the three theories in turn. The Advantages of Advantaged Neighbors Most Americans assume that children who grow up in a "good" neigh- borhood are more likely than those who grow up in a "bad" neighborhood to work hard in school, stay out of trouble, go to college, and get a good job when they become adults. Social scientists have suggested three mech- anisms that could produce this result: peer influences, indigenous adult influences, and outside adult influences. Those who emphasize peer influ- ences usually construct what we call epidemic models of how neighborhoods affect individuals. Those who emphasize the role of indigenous adults con- struct what we call collective socialization models. Those who emphasize the role of outside adults usually construct what we call institutional models. Epidemic models focus on the way in which peers influence one another's behavior, and they assume that "like begets like." If children grow up in a community where a lot of their neighbors steal cars, for example, the children will be more likely to steal cars themselves. Conversely, if children grow up in neighborhoods where all their neighbors finish high school, the children will feel obliged to finish school themselves. Because

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114 INNER-CITY POVERTY IN THE UNITED STATES "bad" behavior is more common in poor neighborhoods, epidemic models predict that, if we compare children from similar families, those reared in poor neighborhoods will behave worse than those reared in affluent neighborhoods.) Many writers assume that bad behavior is contagious, but few examine the implications of this idea in detail. Many seem to assume, for example, that each school or neighborhood has a single dominant set of norms, to which every child, or at least every teenager, tries to conform. The dominant norm about any given form of behavior derives, in turn, from observing what others do. If "most" teenage girls in the neighborhood wear short skirts, then "every" teenager wants a short skirt. Similarly, if most teenage girls have babies before they marry, every teenage girl wants one. If this simple notion were correct, however, all neighborhoods would end up internally homogeneous. Either every girl would have a baby before marrying, for example, or none would. 1b be convincing, epidemic models must allow for individual differ- ences in susceptibility to neighborhood or school influences. Epidemic models of antisocial or self-destructive behavior usually impute differential susceptibility to differences in upbringing, but the model works in the same way if we impute individual differences lo heredity or to chance. The critical feature of the model is that among individuals of any given sus- ceptibilit~r, the likelihood of antisocial or self-destructive behavior increases with exposure to others who engage in similar behavior. If children from low-SES families are more susceptible to such influences, increases in the proportion of low-SES families in a neighborhood will lead to exponential increases in bad behavior. Whereas epidemic models focus on the way in which peers influence one another, collective socialization models focus on the way the adults in a neighborhood influence young people who are not their children. Those who believe in this model (e.g., W. Wilson, 1987) see affluent adults as role models whose existence proves that success is possible if you work hard and there and throughout we use the adjectives "affluent," "advantaged," and "high-SES" as syn- onyms. Thus, when we refer to "affluent" neighborhoods, we mean neighborhoods that have a variety of social and economic advantages besides high family income. We also use the terms "affluent," "advantaged," and "high-SES" in a relative rather than an absolute sense. When we speak of "affluent" neighborhoods, for example, we often mean all neighborhoods that are more affluent than "poor neighborhoods," not neighborhoods that are more affluent than the national average. Likewise, when we speak of "high-SES" students, we often mean all students whose so- cioeconomic status is higher than that of "low-SES" students. As a result, "high-SES" students may merely be students whose parents hold steady jobs and earn average incomes, not students whose parents are high-level executives or professionals.

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GROWING UP IN A POOR NEIGHBORHOOD 115 behave prudently. They also see affluent adults as potential "enforcers," who keep children from running wild on the streets, call the police when trouble occurs, and generally help maintain public order. Institutional models also focus on the way adults affect children, but they focus primarily on adults from outside the community who work in the schools, the police force, and other neighborhood institutions. Almost everyone assumes, for example, that elementary schools in affluent neigh- borhoods get better teachers than those in poor neighborhoods and that this affects how much students learn. Many people also assume that the police treat delinquents differently in rich and poor neighborhoods and that this affects a teenager's chances of acquiring a criminal record. If such assumptions are correct, a neighborhood's mean SES could affect children's life chances even if neighbors per se were irrelevant. From an empirical viewpoint it is often difficult to choose among these three models. All three predict that students will learn more when their schoolmates come from affluent families, for example. The institutional model attributes this to the fact that affluent schools have better teachers and a more demanding curriculum. The contagion model attributes it to the fact that affluent students serge as role models for the less affluent. The social control model attributes it to the fact that affluent parents force their children's schools to set high standards. When we look at real schools, the three models are hard to distinguish. Because this issue is difficult to resolve empirically, social scientists often try to resolve it ideologically. Conservatives tend to espouse contagion or social control models that focus on the way the poor affect one another's attitudes, values, or behavior. Liberals prefer institutional models because they shift responsibility for what happens in a poor neighborhood to middle- class outsiders. The work we review throws little light on this controversy. Almost all of it relies on a "black box" model of neighborhood and school effects that makes no assumptions about how social composition influences individual behavior. Models of this kind try to answer the question, How much would an individual's behavior change if he or she moved from a low-SES to a high-SES neighborhood or school? They do not purport to explain why moving has an effect. As a matter of literary convenience, we sometimes attribute hypothet- ical changes in individual behavior to neighbors or schoolmates rather than neighborhood institutions or school practices. Readers should treat this as verbal shorthand, not as an empirical judgment that the contagion or social control model is superior to the institutional model. What we describe as an effect of having affluent neighbors may be an erect of the neighborhood institutions that the affluent create for themselves and their neighbors.

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116 INNER-C~ POURS IN THE UNFED STATES The Disadvantages of Advantaged Neighbors Epidemic models, collective socialization models, and institutional models all assume that growing up in an affluent neighborhood encourages children to do what adults want them to do: learn a lot in school, stay out of trouble, and get good jobs when they grow up. Models that emphasize concepts like relative deprivation, cultural convict, and competition for scarce resources imply, in contrast, that affluent neighbors often influence children's behavior in ways that most adults regard as undesirable. Relative deprivation models assume that people judge their success or failure by comparing themselves with others around them. If people want to know how well they are doing economically, for example, they compare their standard of living with that of their friends and neighbors. It follows that if their income remains constant, they feel poorer when they have rich neighbors than when they have poor neighbors. Likewise, a college dropout feels less culturally competent if his or her neighbors all have Ph.D.'s than if they are all high school dropouts. The same logic also applies to children. Children judge their economic position by comparing their standard of living with that of their schoolmates and neighbors. They judge their academic success by comparing their school performance with that of their classmates. Other things equal, low-SES children do worse in school than high-SES children. Low-SES children will therefore form a more favorable opinion of their abilities if they attend a low-SES school than if they attend a high-SES school. (The same is, of course, also true for a high-SES child.) Some children who do not compete successfully respond by trying harder; others drop out of the competition. The relative frequency of these two responses depends on a wide range of factors, which are not well understood. But if most young people eventually respond to poor academic performance by refusing to do any more work, moving them from a low-SES school to a high-SES school will not only lower their relative performance but also reduce their academic effort. As a result, moving a child from a low-SES to a high-SES school may also increase the child's chances of quitting school, becoming a teenage mother, or committing violent crimes. The theory of relative deprivation is a theory about individual psy- chology that purports to explain when people judge themselves successful and unsuccessful. It interprets deviant behavior as a by-product of these individual judgments. Theories that emphasize cultural conflict are similar in their underlying structure, but they focus on the way groups create a common culture. These theories suggest that when large numbers of indi- viduals are unable to do what society as a whole expects them to do (finish school, get a respectable job, create and support a family), they will try to create a common culture to deal with their common failure. This culture

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GROWING UP IN A POOR NEIGHBORHOOD 117 will accept as "normal" and in some cases even praiseworthy what the rest of society regards as aberrant and reprehensible. If the creation of a deviant subculture is a collective reaction to relative failure, such a subculture is more likely to arise in settings where success is very unequally distributed. Deviant subcultures will therefore be stronger in neighborhoods or schools where the poor rub shoulders with the rich than in places where the poor only rub shoulders with one another. Competition for scarce resources can also make affluent neighbors a liability. We noted above that schoolchildren compete for grades and that the competition is tougher in high-SES schools. But the same logic applies when teenagers compete for jobs. In both cases a big frog in a small pond is probably better off than a small frog in a big pond. The Irrelevance of Advantaged Neighbors Strong individualists-especially economists-often assume that neigh- bors have no direct effect on an individual's behavior. They believe that people base their decisions on their own circumstances and long-term in- terests, not on their neighbors' ideas about what is sensible, desirable, or acceptable. Most anthropologists and sociologists, as well as many psychol- ogists, reject this view, arguing that individual decisions consist largely of choosing among a menu of culturally defined alternatives and that an indi- vidual's menu depends in part on the alternatives his friends and neighbors are considering. This "sociological" view need not deny that most people are rational utility maximizers. It merely denies that they are imaginative utility maximizers. Even if individuals restrict themselves to choosing among familiar alter- natives, however, a neighborhood's social composition may not have much effect on individual behavior. Most people prefer friends like themselves. So long as neighborhoods and schools are moderately heterogeneous, most young people can indulge this preference. Even in the poorest neighbor- hoods, a teenager can find friends who stay out of trouble, finish high school, go on to college, and get good jobs. And even the most affluent neighborhood has some teenagers who hate schoolwork, reject adult stan- dards of behavior, and get into the same sorts of trouble as teenagers in poor neighborhoods. Prospective troublemakers can therefore find cocon- spirators in a rich neighborhood, even though they are scarcer than they would be in the ghetto. There are, of course, some cases in which a neighborhood's social composition has a big effect on friendship patterns. Rosenbaum et al. (1986) found, for example, that poor black families who had been lured to white Chicago suburbs by Section 8 housing certificates reported that

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118 INNER-CITY POVERTY IN THE UNITED STATES their children had more white friends after moving than before.2 This is an extreme case, however. In the absence of strong financial incentives such as those that lured these poor black families to the Chicago suburbs, families seldom move to neighborhoods where their children have trouble finding friends like themselves. Nonetheless, a neighborhood or school's social composition surely has some effect on a youngster's choice of friends, even when the neighborhood or school is somewhat heterogeneous. These contextual influences on friendship patterns must, in turn, have some effect on the alternatives that young people consider open to them. These effects may well be weak. Indeed, they may be too weak to deserve serious attention. But they are unlikely to be zero. There is, however, a plausible scenario in which the social composition of a school or neighborhood will not appear to affect individual behavior. Suppose that both the epidemic model and the relative deprivation model are partially correct. In such a world high-SES neighbors might have two offsetting effects, one positive and the other negative. If these effects were of roughly equal magnitude, a neighborhood or school's mean SES would not appear to matter at all. As we shall see, this is roughly what we found when we tried to disentangle the effects of a high school's mean SES on its graduates' chances of attending college. The remainder of this chapter proceeds as follows. In the next section we discuss six methodological issues that will recur over and over when we try to interpret the results of studies that assess the long-term effects of neighborhoods or schools on children's life chances. We then review the evidence about how a neighborhood or school's social composition affects children's eventual educational attainment, cognitive skills, crime rates, sexual behavior, and labor market success. In the closing section we summarize our findings and discuss their implications for those who do research and those who finance it. PROBLEMS IN MEASURING NEIGHBOREIOOD EFFECTS ON CHILDREN Anyone who wants to make policy inferences from the currently avail- able studies of neighborhood or school effects confronts two difficulties. First, it is hard to be sure whether the causal inferences that social scien- tists make from survey data are valid. Second, even if those inferences are 2 pursuant to a finding that the Chicago Housing Authority (CHA) had deliberately segregated its public housing projects during the 1950s and 1960s, the Gautreaux decision ordered the CHA to provide some black public housing residents and applicants with Section 8 housing certificates that could only be used in white areas. Rosenbaum et al. (1986) studied families with children who had volunteered to move in order to get those subsidies.

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GROWING UP IN A POOR NEIGHBORHOOD 119 valid, they are seldom sufficiently detailed or precise to predict the effects of specific public policies. Because these general difficulties recur over and over in the studies we review, we discuss them here rather than rehearse them throughout the chapter. We begin with the problems of making causal inferences from survey data. Controlling Exogenous Influences Perhaps the most fundamental problem confronting anyone who wants to estimate neighborhoods' effects on children is distinguishing between neighborhood effects and family effects. Family characteristics exert a major influence on children's life chances no matter where a child lives. A family's characteristics also influence where it lives. This means that children who grow up in rich neighborhoods would differ to some extent from children who grow up in poor neighborhoods even if neighborhoods had no effect whatever. From a scientific viewpoint, the best way to estimate neighborhood effects would be to conduct controlled experiments in which we assigned families randomly to different neighborhoods, persuaded each family to remain in its assigned neighborhood for a protracted period, and then measured each neighborhood's effects on the children involved. Fortu- nately, social scientists cannot conduct experiments of this kind. In their absence, social scientists rely on surveys that collect information on both family and neighborhood characteristics. They then compare children from apparently similar families who live in different neighborhoods. This kind of statistical analysis poses several problems, however. First, we must decide which parental characteristics are exogenous and which are endogenous. (Family characteristics are exogenous if they do not depend on where the family lives. They are endogenous if they change when families move from one neighborhood to another.) There is no simple formula for deciding whether a family characteristic is exogenous. Many people believe, for example, that neighborhoods affect their residents' job opportunities. If this is true, conventional measures of parental SES, such as father's occupation and family income, are partly endogenous. Some part of what we attribute to parental SES may therefore be traceable to the neighborhood in which a family lives. But while neighborhoods may have some effect on adults' job opportunities, no one claims that they explain a large fraction of the total variance in adults' occupational status or income. (We review this literature in Chapter 5 of this volume.) It follows that estimates of a neighborhood's effect on children will be far less biased if parental SES is controlled than if it is not. Similar arguments apply to family composition. As we show below, the neighborhood in which a teenage girl lives affects her chances of having

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120 INNER-CITY POVERTY IN THE UNITED STATES a child out of wedlock. Neighborhoods may also influence marriage and divorce rates. This means that both the number of children and the number of adults in a family depend in part on where the family lives. But no one has argued that neighborhoods have anything like as much influence on family composition as family composition has on where people live. Thus, if we want to estimate a neighborhood's impact on children, we will get less biased results if we compare children from families of similar size and structure than if we treat family composition as endogenous. We have restricted this review to studies that control at least one measure of parental SES when estimating neighborhood or school effects on children. But the studies we review seldom include all the standard indicators of parental SES (mother's and father's education, mother's and father's occupation, and family income) or family composition. Omitting or mismeasuring these family characteristics tends to inflate neighborhoods' estimated effects on children, because a neighborhood's mean SES is a partial proxy for unmeasured variation in individual SES. At present, we have no idea which specific family characteristics we must control in order to get relatively unbiased estimates of neighborhood effects. Such information is crucial for assessing the likely degree of bias in studies that include only one or two measures of parental SES, as most studies do. Longitudinal Versus Cross-sectional Models A second possible way to estimate neighborhood effects would be to study families that moved voluntarily from one neighborhood to another. Studying families that move allows us to control all the stable family char- acteristics, measured and unmeasured, that influence both where families live and their children's life chances. If we found that moving to a better neighborhood lowered poor black teenagers' arrest rates relative to those of their older siblings, for example, we would have more confidence that this was a true neighborhood effect than if we merely found that poor black teenagers who lived in good neighborhoods committed fewer cranes than those who lived in bad neighborhoods. Longitudinal data on the characteristics of the neighborhoods through which families have moved were just becoming available for the first time when we finished this review, so none of the studies we discuss uses such data.3 Even when such data become available, they will have important 3Rosenbaum et al. (1986) tried to assess the effects of moving from segregated inner-city Chicago neighborhoods to white suburbs, but they relied on retrospective parental reports to describe childrents experiences before they moved, and they did not examine any of the outcomes that concern us in this review.

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GROWING UP IN A POOR NEIGHBORHOOD 121 limitations.4 Families usually move because their circumstances have changed. No survey can identify all the changes in a family's circum- stances that lead to a move. As a result, if children's behavior changes after they move, we can never be sure whether these changes reflect the influence of the new neighborhood or the influence of the factors that led to the move. If a father takes to drink, loses his job, and is unable to pay the rent, for example, the family may move to a cheaper neighborhood and the children may start misbehaving. Unless we know about the drinking, we may erroneously impute the change in the children's behavior to the change in neighborhood. The studies we review ignore the issue of change; they measure neigh- borhood characteristics at a single moment in time and implicitly assume that these neighborhood characteristics have remained stable throughout the respondent's childhood. If neighborhood effects accumulate slowly as we might expect in the case of school achievement, for example-measuring neighborhood characteristics at a single point in time can lead to serious measurement errors. Just as failure to measure a family's past income may innate neighborhoods' apparent effects (because current neighborhood is a proxy for past income), so too failure to measure where children have lived in the past may inflate the apparent importance of individual characteris- tics (because individual characteristics are proxies for prior neighborhood characteristics). Even cross-sectional surveys could tell us more than they now do about the effects of changing neighborhoods if they asked respondents how long they had lived in their current neighborhood and whether their current neighbors were richer or poorer than their previous ones. If we had this kind of information, we could determine whether the strength of a neighborhood's apparent effect depended either on how long the respondent had lived there or on having lived in similar neighborhoods before. If neither length of residence nor prior neighborhood characteristics proved important, we would have to abandon many popular theories about how neighborhoods affect children. Nonlinear Effects of Socioeconomic Mix We turn now to a series of problems that arise when we try to predict the likely ejects of government policy from the kinds of causal models that social scientists usually estimate. Unlike the problems discussed in the two 4The Institute for Social Research at the University of Michigan is currently adding neighbor- hood data to the Panel Study of Income Dynamics. These data should be available in 1990.

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176 INNER-CITY POVERTY IN THE UNITED STATES SES controlled. The effect of poor neighborhoods on pregnancy appeared to derive both from the fact that girls from poor neighborhoods initiated intercourse younger and from the fact that they were less likely to use contraception. With mother's education controlled, blacks in classrooms that were more than four-fifths black also reported having initiated sexual intercourse earlier than blacks in classrooms that were less than four-fifths black. Labor Market Success Growing up in an urban neighborhood that is either predominantly black or has a high rate of welfare dependency reduces men's chances of finding well-paid jobs in adulthood. A neighborhood's median income does not appear to affect young people's economic prospects independent of its racial mix or welfare recipiency rate. Blacks who attend racially mixed schools are more likely to work in white-collar occupations than blacks who attend all-black schools. We found no evidence that a school's racial mix or mean SES affected its students' economic success independent of their own family background. Empirical Generalizations Social scientists need to be very cautious about estimates of neigh- borhood or school effects that control only one or two family background characteristics. As a rule, the more aspects of family background we control, the smaller neighborhood and school effects look. Initially, for example, we thought that attending a low-SES high school substantially reduced twelfth graders' chances of attending college. ~day, using more elaborate background measures, we are reasonably certain that the effect is trivial. The same pattern may hold for other outcomes. The literature we reviewed does not, therefore, warrant any strong generalizations about neighborhood effects. Based on what we now know, however, we offer two tentative hypotheses: When neighbors set social standards for one another or create institutions that serve an entire neighborhood, affluent neighbors are likely to be an advantage. When neighbors compete with one another for a scarce resource, such as social standing, high school grades, or teenage jobs, affluent neighbors are likely to be a disadvantage. . Because the balance between these two kinds of influence varies from one outcome to another, there is no general rule dictating that affluent neighbors will always be an advantage or a disadvantage. Nor is there any

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GROWING UP IN A POOR NEIGHBORHOOD 177 general rule about how large the advantage or disadvantage will be relative to other determinants of children's life chances. Our best guess is that better data would support the following empirical generalizations: Advantaged classmates encourage both rich and poor children to learn more in elementary school, finish high school, and delay sexual intercourse. Advantaged classmates lower both rich and poor students' grades. Advantaged classmates have no effect on high school seniors' chances of attending college. Advantaged neighbors discourage teenagers from having children out of wedlock, encourage teenagers to finish high school, and increase teenagers' future earnings. Advantaged neighbors discourage crime among affluent teenagers but encourage it among poor teenagers, at least if they are also black. The evidence we reviewed does not allow us to draw even tentative conclusions about whether the poor gain more from residential or school desegregation than the rich lose. There is some reason to think that blacks may gain more from school desegregation than whites lose, but the evidence on this point would not convince a skeptic. Methodological Implications If social scientists want to make research on neighborhoods useful to public officials and legislators, they need to alter their analytic methods in at least three ways: Future research should pay more attention to the most politically salient and easily understood differences between neighborhoods and schools, such as their poverty rate and racial composition. The effects of a school or neighborhood's poverty rate and racial mix should be estimated with no other neighborhood characteristics controlled.56 Future research should report whether the effects of racial com- position and poverty rates are linear. If the effects are roughly linear, as social scientists tend to assume, moving the poor to more 56Reporting reduced-form results of the kind we described above does not rule out estimat- ing multivariate models that look at the effects of many different neighborhood characteristics simultaneously. In most cases, however, the number of neighborhoods is too small and neighbor- hood characteristics are too highly correlated with one another to separate the effects of specific advantages or disadvantages with much confidence.

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178 INNER-CTIY POVERTY IN THE UNITED STATES affluent neighborhoods will redistribute the cost of having poor neighbors from the poor to the more affluent, but it will not reduce the costs to society as a whole. Such a change is unlikely to win broad political support. Future research should investigate whether poor families are more sensitive than affluent families to neighborhood and school char- acteristics. If poor families gain more from living in a richer neighborhood than affluent families lose from living in a poorer neighborhood, reducing economic segregation can yield significant benefits to society as a whole. If affluent families lose more than poor families gain, reducing economic segregation will have signif- icant overall costs. The same logic applies to race. Implications for the Organization of Research Everyone believes- that both residential segregation and school segre- gation have important social consequences. Home buyers believe it, which is why they are willing to pay more to live in a good neighborhood. Judges believe it, which is why they turn cities upside down in order to desegregate their schools. Even committees of the National Research Council believe it, which is why they become concerned when the Census Bureau releases data suggesting that more people were living in very poor neighborhoods in 1980 than In 1970. Given the central role that everyone assigns to residential and school segregation, we were surprised by how little effort social scientists had made to measure the effect on individual behavior of either neighborhood or school composition. The subject is, of course, quite difficult to study. On reflection, however, we found this explanation for its neglect unconvincing. All social science problems are difficult, almost by definition. The easy questions were answered long ago. Compared with most of the problems that currently concern social scientists, estimating neighborhood and school effects is not especially difficult. The reason we don't know more is not that the questions are so hard to answer but that we have not invested much time or money in looking for answers. Efforts to estimate the effect of a high school's socioeconomic composition on graduating seniors' educational plans and subsequent at- tainment are the exception that proves this rule. Sociologists invested a lot of time and money in this problem, and the eventual convergence of their findings was remarkable. This is a case in which sociologists can truly claim to have learned something nobody knew to begin with, namely that a high school's socioeconomic mix has very little net effect on whether graduating seniors plan to attend college, actually attend college, or graduate from

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GROPING UP IN A POOR NEIGHBORHOOD 179 college. Sociologists have also developed quite plausible explanations of why this is so. One obvious reason why social scientists have learned less about the other consequences of having low-SES classmates is that they have collected less data on those outcomes. Every follow-up of high school seniors asks about their educational attainment. Many follow-ups also ask about labor market experiences, but few studies follow graduates long enough to get meaningful estimates of how much they are likely to earn when they grow up. Few follow-ups ask about sexual behavior or criminal activity. None tests high school graduates to see how much they remember of what they studied in school. In principle, it should be easier to follow elementary school students through secondary school to see whether their elemen- ta~y school's social composition has long-term effects on their cognitive development, but no one has done this either. We know less about neighborhood effects than about school effects because collecting data on neighborhoods is more expensive than collecting data on schools. Only the Census Bureau has enough money to collect data on the socioeconomic composition of large representative samples of neighborhoods, and it has released only one data tape that includes both individual records (cleansed of identifying information) and data on the individual's neighbors. The only way to link individual characteristics and neighborhood characteristics, therefore, is to conduct private surveys of individuals and then add census data on the neighborhoods in which respondents live. Because data have been so scarce, there has never been an "invisi ble college" of social scientists grappling with the problems of estimating neighborhood effects, encouraging one another to use the best available analytic methods, criticizing questionable results before they reach print, or replicating important results after they are in print. Without such an invisible college, no field of inquiry makes much progress. If funding agencies wanted to encourage research on problems of this kind, the first step would be to make money available for collecting appropriate data. But while data collection is a necessary first step, it will not suffice. Funding agencies must also create more incentives for talented scholars to analyze the data in ways that are useful to policy analysts. At the moment, scholars cannot expect many rewards for doing such work Like all scholars, economists, sociologists, and social psychologists tale mainly to one another. As a result, economists are interested in problems that interest other economists, sociologists are interested in questions that interest other sociologists, and social psychologists are interested in prob- lems that interest other social psychologists. Furthermore, these scholars' careers depend mainly on their success in finding answers to questions that

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180 INNER-C~ POPERY IN THE UNWED STATES interest other members of their discipline. 1b worry about questions that only interest public officials and policy analysts is quite risky. If legislators and public officials want first-rate work on policy ques- tions, they will have to ensure that people who work on such issues can survive in universities. At present, their survival is problematic. A handful of public policy schools reward their faculty for doing such work but they are too few in number to provide a clear career line for young scholars. Despite widespread cynicism about the value of social science, we believe that research on neighborhood and school effects could tell us a lot if it were properly organized. This would mean a number of major changes: Funding agencies would have to make a long-term commitment (e.g., 10 years) to research in this area. Social science research, like most other research, involves a lot of false starts. Funding agencies must expect this and must be willing to wait for better answers. When slow progress is politically or institutionally unacceptable, as it often is, investing in social science research is a mistake. Funding agencies must make money available for collecting new data on a regular basis. Funding agencies must find ways to create a group of technically competent scholars with a long-term commitment to understanding neighborhood and school effects. This means they cannot rely entirely on contract research firms to do their work. They must also involve university-based social scientists. 1b attract good university- based social scientists, funding agencies must give them enough time to do what they and their colleagues regard as professionally respectable work. Funding agencies also need more social scientists on their own staffs. Funding agencies without such staff members seldom spec- ify in appropriate empirical terms the policy-related question they want answered. Nor do they usually negotiate acceptable compro- mises between their agency's policy agenda and the disciplinary agenda of university-based scholars. Nor are they likely to make realistic judgments about how long it will take to answer a question correctly though even social scientists are almost always overly optimistic on this score. None of the above conditions is currently met. Those who fund applied social science research seldom stay interested in any question for more than a few years. Little money is available for data collection. Partly as a result, few scholars have shown sustained interest in the field over the past generation. Thus, while much could be learned, there is little prospect that much will be learned unless we alter the way we organize our efforts.

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GROWING UP IN A POOR NEIGHBORHOOD 181 Public concern about geographically concentrated poverty and home- lessness is currently high. As a result, the federal government may spend substantial sums for low-income housing during the l990s. The way we make these expenditures could either increase or decrease the current level of housing segregation. If the government tries to "save" existing public housing projects, extreme concentrations of poverty will persist. If the government builds scattered-site housing or provides housing vouchers, residential segregation might decline, but less housing might also be built. At the moment, we have no way of knowing how changes in residential segregation would affect either adults or children. Nor is there any way we can answer such questions in the next year or two. This means that social science cannot provide reliable evidence to inform near-term changes in government policy. But it does not follow that there is no point in doing research on such questions. If we begin now, we might have some fairly reliable findings by the turn of the century. If we procrastinate, we will be as ignorant a generation hence as we are now. ACKNOWLEDGMENTS We are indebted to Georg Malt for his assistance in reviewing stud- ies of schools' effects on college plans and academic achievement, to Karl Alexander, Thomas Cook, Robert Crain, Roberto Fernandez, Adam Gamoran, Bennett Harrison, John Meyer, and Michael Wiseman for help- ful comments on earlier drafts, and to Anthony Bryk, James Davis, Frank Furstenberg, Stephen Gottfredson, Dennis Hogan, and Philip Morgan for checking our summaries of their work. Needless to say, any errors that remain are our own. The Center for Urban Affairs and Policy Research at Northwestern University provided financial assistance. REFERENCES Abrahamse, Allan F., Peter Morrison, and Linda J. Waite 1988 Beyond stereotypes: Who becomes a teenage mother? Santa Monica, Calif.: Rand Corporation. Alexander, Karl L., and Bruce K. Eckland 1975 Contextual effects in the high school attainment process. American Socio- log~cal Review 40:402-416. Altonji, Joseph G. 1988 The Effects of Family Background and School Characteristics on Education and Labor Market Outcomes. Department of Economics, Northwestern University. Evanston, Ill.

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182 INNER-Cm POVERTY IN THE UNITED STATES Alwin, Duane F. 1976 Assessing school effects: Some identities. Sociology of Education 49:294-303. Alwin, Duane F., and Luther B. Otto 1977 High school context effects on aspirations. Sociology of Education 50:259-273. Armor, David J. 1984 The evidence on desegregation and black achievement. Pp. 43 67 in School Desegregation and Black Achievement. Washington, D.C: The National Institute of Education. Asch, Solomon E. 1951 Effects of group pressure upon the modification and distortion of judgment. In Groups, Leadership and Men, Harold Guetzkow, ed. Pittsburgh: Carnegie Press. Bott, Elizabeth 1957 Family and Social Network. London: Tavistock. Broman, Sarah H., Paul L. Nichols, and Wallace A. Kennedy 1975 Preschool IQ: Prenatal and Early Developmental Correlates. Hillsdale, NJ.: Lawrence Erlbaum. B~yk, Anthony S., and Mary Erina Dnscoll 1988 The High School as Community Contextual Influences and Consequences for Students and Teachers. National Center on Effective Secondary Schools, University of Wisconsin, Madison. Ask, Anthony S., and Stephen W. Raudenbush 1987 Application of hierarchical linear models to assessing change. Psychological Bulletin 101:147-158. Idward a more appropriate conceptualization of research on school effects: A three-level hierarchical linear model. American Journal of Education 97:65-108. Bryk, Anthony, and Yeow Meng Thum 1988 The Effects of High School Organization on Dropping Out: An Exploratory Investigation. Department of Education, University of Chicago, Chicago, Ill. Bureau of Justice Statistics 1987 Sourcebook of Cruninal Justice Statistics 1986. Washington, D.C.: U.S. Government Printing Office. Coleman, James S., E. Q. Campbell, C J. Hobson, J. McPartland, A. M. Mood, F. D. Weinfeld, and R. L York 1966 Equally of Educational Opp~ni~. Washington D.C.: U.S. Government Printing Office. Cook, Thomas D 1984 What have black children gained academically from school integration? Examination of the meta-analytic evidence. Pp. 7~2 in School Desegregation and Black Achievement. Washington, D.C.: The National Institute of Education. Corcoran, Mary, Roger Gordon, Deborah Laren, and Gary Solon 1987 1988 1989 Intergenerational Transmission of Education, Income and Earnings. Political Science Department, University of Michigan. Ejects of Family and Community Background on Men's Economic Status. Working Paper 2896, National Bureau of Economic Research, Cambridge, Mass. Crain, Robert 1970 School integration and occupational achievement of Negroes. Amencan Journal of Sociology 75:593~}6.

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1~ 1~1 Scat Con and lbe amde~c acb~vemeD1 ~ Aft. ~ =:1-~. CmiD, Act, and ~m Rabat 1~8 3~1 meal ~m-11ion and bat Whew anenden~ and a~i~en1 ~ ~ ~ ~ 51~14~. 1~3 We act of ~- melb~ol~ on d~gm alion-a~menl Judy: ^ meu-ana~i~ _= ~' ~ ~ ~:8~54. Aid, Ace, and ~ Sag_ 1~5 SO ~g=ahon Ad Blat O~palionaI ~~inmen~: ~1~ tom a Angst ~dmenl. waler far SO O~an~don of tools Johns Hopkins Unknit. Cmne, ]ona~an Cab- be pallem of neigh each on nodal pmNems. Amino ~ At. Dalcher, Linda 1~2 Each of ~mmuni~ and Emit Sigmund on amens. ~ ~ =d ~~ ~:~1. O^, Amp ~ 1` he campus as a ~ And: ~ applimlion of lhe Get ~ Bait depart {a ==er decisions of hinge men. ~= ~' ~- 7~17~1. =tenbu~, hank lo, an, S. Philip hogan, -~in ^ ~m, and James Pellet 1~7 Dam di~=n~s id 1be liming of ad~=nl influx. -~ ~ SZ511-318. Oamomn, Adam 1~7 he s~liO=1ion of bigb ~b-1 learning ~podunili=. ~_ ~- ~ -133-133. Coll~dson, Denise C., Dim ]. McNeil, and Oat D. 00l1~d~n 1S7 Immune fluent on Ind~du~ DeUngu=~. Pair pawed al Be Manual haling of lbe Sweden Stem ~ ~inol~ Oman Coll~dson, Slepben D., and Ralpb B. Valor 1 ~1 ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ am. ~ 1~ in ~e ~' ~~ ~ At. James ad. ~ and ~ ]. Sampan, As. Nag Ah: Spdn~dag. ~mmuni~ ~nl~s and Amino oxides. ~ ~ ~ ~ Aft, ~ How and ad. Sit, A. Ados Her M-~% Stoned Off. Haunt ~ ad. 1~9 Sibyls and lbe slmliO=lion pa. ~= ~ ~ 7~- 611. 1~1 ~ ~ ~ =d ~' a. Sing, D.C.: Sedan S-ologi=1 align. Haunt -~n ad., William H. Sewell, and Duane E ID 1~6 Higb scb~1 eats on a~ie~menl. In ~~ =d ~_' = ant, William H. Shell, ~n ad. Faust and D^d ~albe~an, ads. Nag Ad: Endemic Pax. Hindelang, chisel 1., Avis Kiwi, and ~=ph O. Ells 1~1 hi. ~~ Hills, OliC: Sage. Hogan, Dennis a, and Bet ad. ~lagawa 1~3 ~e impala of nodal sla{us, amid Clue, and Neil on me Philip of black adol==nls. ~ ~ ~S 9:~. 1~7

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184 INNER-CITY POVERTY IN THE UNITED STATES Hogan, Dennis, Nan Marie Astone, and Evelyn Kitagawa 1985 Social and environmental factors influencing contraceptive use among black adolescents. Famih,' Planning Perspectives 17:165-169. Hotchkiss, Lawrence 1984 Ejects of Schooling on Cognitive, Attitudinal, and Behavioral Outcomes. Technical Report. The National Center for Research on Vocational Educa- tion, The Ohio State University. Jencks, Christopher 1969 A reappraisal of the most controversial educational document of our time. The New York Times Magazine, August 10:12-13 and 33-44. 1972a The Coleman report and the conventional wisdom. Pp. 69-115 in On Equalay of Educational Opportunity, Frederick Mosteller and Daniel Patrick Moynihan, eds. New York: Random House. 1972b The quality of the data collected by the Equality of Opportunity Survey. Pp. 437-512 in On Equality of Educational Opporn~uty, Frederick Mosteller and Daniel Patrick Moynihan, eds. New York: Random House. forth- Is the underclass growing? In Christopher Jencks and Paul Peterson, eds., coming The Urban Underclass. Washington, D.C.: Brookings Institution. Jencks, Christopher, and Marsha Brown 1975a The ejects of desegregation on student achievement: Some new evidence from the Equality of Educational Opportunity Survey. Sociology of Education 48:126-140. 1975b The effects of high schools on their students. Harvard Educational Review 45:273-324. Jencks, Christopher, Marshall Smith, Henry Acland, Mary Jo Bane, David Cohen, Herbert Gintis, Barbara Heyns, and Stephen Michelson 1972 Inequality. New York: Basic Books. Jencks, Christopher, Susan Bartlett, Mary Corcoran, James Crouse, David Eaglesfield, Gregory Jackson, Kent McClelland, Peter Mueser, Michael Olneck, Joseph Schwartz, Sherry Ward, and Jill Williams 1979 Ho Gets Ahead? New York: Basic Books. Johnstone, John W. C. 1978 Social class, social areas and delinquency. Sociology and Social Research 63:49-72. Krol, Ronald A. 1980 A mete analysis of the effects of desegregation on academic achievement. The Urban Review 12:211-224. Mare, Robert 1980 Social background and school continuation decisions. Journal of He American Statistical A~socianon 75:295-305. Massey, Douglas S., and Nancy A. Denton 1987 Wends in residential segregation of blacks, Hispanics, and Asians: 1970-1980. American Sociological Review 52:802-825. Massey, Douglas S., and Mitchell L Eggers 1990 The ecology of inequality: Minorities and the concentration of poverty 1970-1980. A,nencan Joumal of Sociology 95:1153-1188. Mayer, Susan E. fonh- How much does a high school's racial and economic mix affect graduation coming rates and teenage fertility rates? In Christopher Jencks and Paul Peterson, eds., The Urban Underclass. Washington, D.C.: Brookings Institution.

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GROWING UP IN A POOR NEIGHBORHOOD 185 McDill, Edward L, and Leo C. Rigsby 1973 Structure and Process in Secondary Schools: The Academic Impact of Ed~ca- tional Climates. Baltimore: Johns Hopkins University Press. Meyer, John W. 1970 High school effects on college intentions. American Joumal of Sociology 76:59-70. Michael, John A. 1961 High school climates and plans for entering college. Public Opinion Quarterly 25:585-595. Mosteller, Fredenck, and Daniel Patrick Moynihan, eds. 1972 On Equality of Educational Opportunity. New York: Random House. Myers, David E. 1985 The relationship between school poverty concentration and students' reading and math achievement and learning. Pp. D-17 to D-60 in Mary Kennedy, Richard Jung, and Martin Orland, eds., Poverty, Achievement and the Distri bution of Compensatory Education Services. Office of Educational Research and Improvement. Washington, D.~: U.S. Department of Education. Nelson, Joel I. 1972 High school context and college plans: The impact of social structure on aspirations.AmericanSociolog~calRevrew 37:143-148. Reiss, Albert J., Jr., and Albert Lewis Rhodes 1961 The distribution of juvenile delinquency in the social class structure. Amer- ican Sociological Review 26:720-732. Rosenbaum, James E., Leonard S. Rubinowitz, and Marilynn J. Kulieke 1986 Low-Income Black Children in White Suburban Schools. Center for Urban Affairs and Policy Research, Northwestern University. Evanston, Ill. St. John, Nancy H. 1975 School Desegregation Outcomes for Children. New York: John Wiley ~ Sons. Sewell, William H., and J. Michael Armer 1966 Neighborhood context and college plans. American Sociological Review 31:159-168. Sewell, William H., Robert M. Hauser, and Wendy C Wolf 1980 Sex, schooling, and occupational status. American Journal of Sociology 86:551-583. Simcha-Fagan, Ora, and Joseph E. Schwartz 1986 Neighborhood and delinquency: An assessment of contextual effects. C~m- inology 24:667-703. Smith, Douglas A. 1986 The neighborhood context of police behavior. Pp. 313-341 in Communities and Come. Albert J. Reiss, Jr., and Michael Tony, eds. Chicago: University of Chicago Press. Sum, Andrew 1986 Childbearing Behavior of Unmarried Women (20-24) in the United States and Their Relationship With AFQT Test Scores: Findings of the 1979 1981 NLS Interviews. Working paper, Center for Labor Market Studies, Northeastern University, Boston. Summers, Anita A., and Barbara L Wolfe 1977 Do schools make a difference? The American Economic Review 67(Septem- ber): 639-652.

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186 INNER-CITY POVERTY IN THE UNITED STATES Thornton, Clarence H., and Bruce K. Eckland 1980 High school contextual effects for black and white students: A research note. Sociology of Education 53:2A7-252. Turner, Ralph A. 1964 The Social Content of Ambition. San Francisco: Chandler. Wilson, Alan B. 1959 Residential segregation of social classes and aspirations of high school boys. American Sociological Review 24:836-845. Wilson, William Julius 1987 The Tnuly Disadvantaged. Chicago: The Univemityof Chicago Press.