Employment of Low-Income African American and Latino Teens: Does Neighborhood Social Mix Matter?

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Housing studies, ISSN: 0267-3037, Vol: 30, Issue: 2, Page: 192-227

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Galster, G. C.; Santiago, A. M.; Lucero, Jessica Lee
Informa UK Limited; Taylor & Francis
Environmental Science; Social Sciences; employment; low income; African American; Latino; teens; social mix
article description
We quantify how teen employment outcomes for low-income African Americans and Latinos relate to their neighborhood conditions during ages 14-17. Data come from surveys of Denver Housing Authority (DHA) households who have lived in public housing scattered throughout Denver County. Because DHA household allocation mimics random assignment to neighborhood, this program represents a natural experiment for overcoming geographic selection bias. Our logistic and Tobit regression analyses found overall greater odds of teen employment and more hours worked for those who lived in neighborhoods with higher percentages of pre-1940 vintage housing, property crime rates and child abuse rates, though the strength of relationships was highly contingent on gender and ethnicity. Teen employment prospects of African Americans were especially diminished by residence in more socially vulnerable, violent neighborhoods, implying selective potential gains from social mixing alternatives.