Given data limitations, neighborhood effects scholarship relies heavily on administrative data to measure area-level constructs. We provide new evidence to guide the selection of indicators from routinely collected sources, focusing on effects on early child development. Informed by an analytic paradigm attuned to the intersection of race, class, and sex, along with population-level data in British Columbia, Canada, our findings signal the need for greater precision when choosing variables in place of the now dominant approaches for measuring constructs like income/wealth, employment, family structure and race/ethnicity. We also provide new evidence about which area-level variables associate with the different domains of child development, as well as how area-level associations vary across urban and rural contexts.
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