In “Neighborhood Land Uses as Predictors of the Upward Mobility of Poor Youth,” Keith Ihlanfeldt, Ph.D., examines whether the land uses within the neighborhoods where poor youth grow up helps to predict their welfare as adults. To do so, Dr. Ihlanfeldt explores the characteristics of neighborhoods that provide upward mobility.
Dr. Ihlanfeldt finds that land uses within the neighborhood where youth grew up are important predictors of individuals’ household income as adults, as well as teenage births rates. For example, among those poor individuals who grew up in neighborhoods with larger number of multifamily apartments, single-family rental homes, or mobile homes, their household income as adults is smaller. Also, a larger number of alcohol-serving establishments tend to decrease the adult household incomes of poor youth. The results are similar for predicting teenage birth rates. Among poor female youth, growing up in neighborhoods with more multifamily housing, single-family rentals, mobile homes, and alcoholic establishments increases the likelihood of having children as teenagers.
The research by Dr. Ihlanfeldt identifies neighborhoods that provide upward mobility. Importantly, this study can help tailor policies to either make the home neighborhoods of disadvantaged youth more like these neighborhoods or enable the guardians of these children to move into these places.