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The Temporal Stability of Children's Neighborhood Experiences: A Follow-up from Birth to Age 15


  • Kleinepier, Tom

    (Delft University of Technology)

  • van Ham, Maarten

    () (Delft University of Technology)


Despite increasing attention being paid to the temporal dynamics of childhood disadvantage, children's neighborhood characteristics are often measured at a single point in time. Whether such cross-sectional measures serve as reliable proxies for children's long-run neighborhood conditions depends on the stability in children's neighborhood experiences over time. We investigate the temporal stability in children's neighborhood environment, focusing on two of the most commonly studied neighborhood characteristics: The ethnic composition and mean income of the neighborhood. Using Dutch population register data, we follow an entire cohort of children from birth up until age 15. We use year-to-year correlations in the percentage non-Western minorities and the mean income in the neighborhood to evaluate the temporal stability of children's neighborhood experiences. Children's neighborhood characteristics were found to be more stable over time with regard to ethnic composition than with regard to income. Children who had moved at least once were found to have lower stability in neighborhood characteristics than children who never moved. Finally, neighborhood experiences were found to be more stable over time for ethnic minorities than for the native Dutch, although differences were small with regard to income. Single point-in-time measurements of neighborhood characteristics are reasonable proxies for the long-run ethnic composition of children's neighborhood environment, but rather noisy proxies for the long-run income status of their neighborhood, particularly for those who moved.

Suggested Citation

  • Kleinepier, Tom & van Ham, Maarten, 2017. "The Temporal Stability of Children's Neighborhood Experiences: A Follow-up from Birth to Age 15," IZA Discussion Papers 10696, Institute for the Study of Labor (IZA).
  • Handle: RePEc:iza:izadps:dp10696

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    References listed on IDEAS

    1. Kunz, Jim & Page, Marianne E. & Solon, Gary, 2003. "Are point-in-time measures of neighborhood characteristics useful proxies for children's long-run neighborhood environment?," Economics Letters, Elsevier, vol. 79(2), pages 231-237, May.
    2. Greg Duncan & Johanne Boisjoly & Kathleen Mullan Harris, 2001. "Sibling, peer, neighbor, and schoolmate correlations as indicators of the importance of context for adolescent development," Demography, Springer;Population Association of America (PAA), vol. 38(3), pages 437-447, August.
    3. Geoffrey Wodtke, 2013. "Duration and Timing of Exposure to Neighborhood Poverty and the Risk of Adolescent Parenthood," Demography, Springer;Population Association of America (PAA), vol. 50(5), pages 1765-1788, October.
    4. Lina Hedman & David Manley & Maarten van Ham & John Östh, 2015. "Cumulative exposure to disadvantage and the intergenerational transmission of neighbourhood effects," Journal of Economic Geography, Oxford University Press, vol. 15(1), pages 195-215.
    5. Nancy Luke & Hongwei Xu, 2011. "Exploring the meaning of context for health: Community influences on child health in South India," Demographic Research, Max Planck Institute for Demographic Research, Rostock, Germany, vol. 24(15), pages 345-374, February.
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    Cited by:

    1. Kleinepier, Tom & van Ham, Maarten, 2017. "Ethnic Differences in Duration and Timing of Exposure to Neighbourhood Disadvantage during Childhood," IZA Discussion Papers 10944, Institute for the Study of Labor (IZA).

    More about this item


    neighbourhood experiences; neighbourhood environment; children; income; temporal dynamics;

    JEL classification:

    • J13 - Labor and Demographic Economics - - Demographic Economics - - - Fertility; Family Planning; Child Care; Children; Youth
    • J62 - Labor and Demographic Economics - - Mobility, Unemployment, Vacancies, and Immigrant Workers - - - Job, Occupational and Intergenerational Mobility; Promotion
    • O18 - Economic Development, Innovation, Technological Change, and Growth - - Economic Development - - - Urban, Rural, Regional, and Transportation Analysis; Housing; Infrastructure
    • R23 - Urban, Rural, Regional, Real Estate, and Transportation Economics - - Household Analysis - - - Regional Migration; Regional Labor Markets; Population

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