In this paper we use a specially created data set for New York City to evaluate whether the context of children’s neighborhoods varies by their immigrant status, and, if so, whether the relationship between neighborhood context and immigrant status varies by children’s race and ethnicity. Overall, when compared to native-born children, immigrant children live in neighborhoods with higher rates of teenage fertility, and higher percentages of students in local schools scoring below grade level in math and of persons receiving AFDC, but lower rates of juvenile detention. However, further comparisons revealed that race/ethnicity is by far a more potent predictor of where children live than is immigrant status per se. Specifically, we find evidence of a hierarchy of access to advantageous neighborhoods, whereby native- and foreign-born white children have access to the most-advantaged neighborhoods while native-born black children consistently live in the least-advantaged neighborhoods, as measured by our four indicators. In between these extremes, the relative ranking of foreign-born black and native- and foreign-born Hispanic children varies, depending on the measure of the neighborhood context.
This article synthesizes findings from a wide range of empirical research into how neighborhoods affect families and children. It lays out a conceptual framework for understanding how neighborhoods may affect people at different life stages. It then identifies methodological challenges, summarizes past research findings, and suggests priorities for future work.