School Leaving: A Longitudinal Perspective Including Neighborhood Effects

Margaret E. Ensminger, Rebecca P. Lamkin, Nora Jacobson

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

160 Scopus citations


Using 1970 and 1980 census data from 202 tracts in the Chicago metropolitan region, we examine whether neighborhoods influence the likelihood of high school graduation for a cohort of African-American children followed from 1966 to 1993. Neighborhood-level variables included percent living below poverty and percent in white-collar occupations. We test for the possible direct, indirect, and interactive effects of these neighborhood indicators on the likelihood of school dropout. Our examination found the advantage of living in a neighborhood characterized by a high percentage of residents who work in white-collar occupations. Male adolescents who lived in a middle-class neighborhood were more likely to graduate from high school, even with family background, early school performance, adolescent family supervision, and adolescent marijuana use controlled. These findings are consistent with findings from three other studies. However, living in a poverty census tract did not seem to influence the likelihood of high school graduation or school leaving over and above the impact of family and individual characteristics. There also were no neighborhood effects for females.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)2400-2416
Number of pages17
JournalChild development
Issue number5
StatePublished - Oct 1996

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Pediatrics, Perinatology, and Child Health
  • Education
  • Developmental and Educational Psychology


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