The neighborhoods they live in: the effects of neighborhood residence on child and adolescent outcomes

Psychol Bull. 2000 Mar;126(2):309-37. doi: 10.1037/0033-2909.126.2.309.


This article provides a comprehensive review of research on the effects of neighborhood residence on child and adolescent well-being. The first section reviews key methodological issues. The following section considers links between neighborhood characteristics and child outcomes and suggests the importance of high socioeconomic status (SES) for achievement and low SES and residential instability for behavioral/emotional outcomes. The third section identifies 3 pathways (institutional resources, relationships, and norms/collective efficacy) through which neighborhoods might influence development, and which represent an extension of models identified by C. Jencks and S. Mayer (1990) and R. J. Sampson (1992). The models provide a theoretical base for studying neighborhood mechanisms and specify different levels (individual, family, school, peer, community) at which processes may operate. Implications for an emerging developmental framework for research on neighborhoods are discussed.

Publication types

  • Research Support, Non-U.S. Gov't
  • Research Support, U.S. Gov't, Non-P.H.S.
  • Research Support, U.S. Gov't, P.H.S.
  • Review

MeSH terms

  • Achievement
  • Adolescent
  • Affective Symptoms / psychology*
  • Child
  • Child Behavior Disorders / psychology*
  • Humans
  • Personality Development*
  • Residence Characteristics*
  • Socioeconomic Factors