Longitudinal Associations between Childhood Neighborhood Disadvantage and Young Adult Income

The Open Public Health Journal 27 December 2023 RESEARCH ARTICLE DOI: 10.2174/0118749445286479231220091103



This study examines the relationship between neighborhood disadvantage experienced in childhood and income level in young adulthood, with further assessment of whether that relationship is moderated by the duration of or age at exposure.


Relationships between three types of neighborhood disadvantage (i.e., cohesion, quality, safety) at three developmental stages (i.e., childhood, early adolescence, adolescence) and income at age 25 (±1 year) were assessed among employed young adults using multivariable fixed effects models stratified by gender in a retrospective cohort of 660 U.S. youths drawn from a nationally representative panel study.


Findings demonstrated that childhood exposure to unsafe neighborhoods is negatively associated with income, but neighborhood cohesion and quality showed no effect. Further, the length of exposure to unsafe neighborhoods has a negative association with income among females (though not among males), but only for those residing in the most dangerous neighborhoods for the longest durations. Finally, the age of exposure provided statistically equivalent effects, indicating that there was no evidence that exposure timing mattered.


These results suggest that a multi-faceted view of neighborhood disadvantage may be helpful in understanding its potential influence on adult economic achievement and raises questions about how these contexts are differentially experienced across genders.

Keywords: Neighborhoods, Neighborhood disadvantage, Income, Longitudinal, Pregnancy, Childhood exposure.
Fulltext HTML PDF ePub