Effects of Household and Neighborhood Characteristics on Racial Inequality in the Duration of Children’s Exposure to Neighborhood Poverty and Affluence

Jeffrey M. Timberlake, University of Cincinnati

I construct covariate-adjusted increment-decrement life tables to estimate racial differences in the duration of children’s exposure to neighborhood poverty and affluence. Using geocoded data from the 1999 and 2001 waves of the Panel Study of Income Dynamics, I estimate that black children born in 1999 can expect to spend about 9 of their first 18 years in poor neighborhoods, compared to less than 2 years for white children. Bivariate inequality in childhood exposure is reduced by 22% after controlling for racial differences in household characteristics, compared to a reduction of about 64% after controlling for racial differences in the racial composition and spatial location of children’s neighborhoods. These findings indicate that household and especially urban ecological factors strongly affect the amount of time that black and white children can expect to spend in poor and non-poor neighborhoods throughout childhood. I conclude by discussing some policy implications of the findings.

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Presented in Session 26: Race/Ethnic Inequalities