Duration and Timing of Exposure to Neighborhood Poverty and the Risk of Adolescent Parenthood

Geoffrey T. Wodtke, University of Michigan

Theory suggests that the impact of neighborhood poverty depends on the duration and timing of exposure. Previous research, however, does not properly measure and analyze the sequence of neighborhood contexts to which children are exposed. This study investigates the effects of different longitudinal patterns of exposure to poor neighborhoods on adolescent parenthood. It follows a cohort of children from age 4 to 19, measuring neighborhood context once per year, and uses novel methods for time-varying exposures that overcome limitations of conventional regression models when selection processes are dynamic. Results indicate that sustained exposure to poor neighborhoods substantially increases the risk of teen parenthood and that exposure to neighborhood poverty during adolescence may be more consequential than exposure during childhood. In addition, results suggest that conventional regression models severely understate the impact of neighborhood poverty, regardless of whether neighborhood context is measured longitudinally or at a single point in time.

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Presented in Session 84: Neighborhood Effects and Neighborhood Change