Family and Neighborhood Effects on Children’s Well-Being

Anne Pebley, University of California, Los Angeles
Narayan Sastry, RAND

We examine the effects of family and neighborhood socioeconomic status on inequality in children’s well-being, including reading and math skills and behavioral problems. We use new data from Wave 1 of the Los Angeles Family and Neighborhood Survey and national data from the PSID Child Development Supplement. To describe inequality in children’s well-being, we borrow summary measures, such as Lorenz and concentration curves, from research on income inequality. These measures allow us to assess well-being inequality directly and comprehensively. Using these tools, we compare the proportion of well-being inequality attributable to inequality in family income, family wealth, mother’s schooling and reading skills, and to inequality in neighborhood income, both before and after controlling for other child, family, and neighborhood characteristics. Our analysis includes more complete information on family characteristics, which allows us to draw clearer conclusions about the net effects of family and neighborhood socioeconomic status on children’s well-being.

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Presented in Session 90: The Impacts of Neighborhoods and Communities