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 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: Ecological Perspectives on the Neighborhood Context of Urban Poverty: Past and Present - Robert Sampson and Jeffrey Morenoff
Chapter 2: The Influence of Neighborhoods on Children's Development: A Theoretical Perspective and a Research Agenda - Frank Furstenberg and Mary Elizabeth Hughes
Chapter 3: Bringing Families Back In: Neighborhood Effects on Child Development - Robin Jarrett
Chapter 4: Understanding the Neighborhood Context for Children and Families: Combining Epidemiological and Ethnographic Approaches - Jill Korbin and Claudia Coulton
Chapter 5: Sibling Estimates of Neighborhood Effects - Daniel Aaronson
Chapter 6: Capturing Social Process for Testing Mediational Models of Neighborhood Effects - Thomas Cook, Shobha Shagle, and Serdar Degirmencioglu
Chapter 7: Community Influences on Adolescent Achievement and Deviance - Nancy Darling and Laurence Steinberg
Chapter 8: On Ways of Thinking about Measuring Neighborhoods: Implications for Studying Context and Developmental Outcomes for Children - Linda Burton, Townsand Price-Spratlen, and Margaret Beale Spencer
Chapter 9: An Alternative Approach to Assessing Neighborhood Effects on Early Adolescent Achievement and Problem Behavior - Margaret Beale Spencer, Paul McDermott, Linda Burton, and Tedd Jay Kochman
Chapter 10: Neighborhood Effects and State and Local Policy - Prudence Brown and Harold Richman
Chapter 11: Communities as Place, Face, and Space: Provision of Services to Poor, Urban Children and Their Families