The Heller School For Social Policty And Management The Heller School For Social Policy and Management Brandeis University

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Child Opportunity Index measuring neighborhood opportunities for children

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Spotlight and News

Consequences of Segregation for Children’s Opportunity and Wellbeing

Book Chapter | April 5, 2019

As the child population becomes “majority-minority,” racial segregation remains high, income segregation among families with children increases, and the political and policy landscape undergoes momentous change, it is a particularly crucial time to consider the consequences of segregation for children’s opportunity and wellbeing researchers Nancy McArdle and Dolores Acevedo-Garcia explore these issues in a chapter of A Shared Future: Fostering Communities of Inclusion in an Era of Inequality, published by Harvard University's Joint Center for Housing Studies. In the volume, leading academics, practitioners, and policymakers grapple with the question: "More than 50 years after the passage of the Fair Housing Act, what would it take to meaningfully reduce residential segregation and/or to mitigate its negative consequences in the United States?"

In our chapter, "Consequences of Segregation for Children’s Opportunity and Wellbeing," we show that children are even more racially segregated than are adults and that income segregation is rising for families with children.  Segregation is not benign but is associated with vastly different child environments, with black and Latino children dramatically more likely to live in lower-opportunity neighborhoods than white children. These separate and unequal neighborhoods have strong associations with child outcomes. Further, segregated neighborhoods overwhelmingly lead to segregated schools with poor and minority students isolated in disadvantaged learning environments which stunt their academic achievement and deprive them of a host of benefits that come with integrated, high quality schools. This degree of separation challenges the values of unity and equal opportunity that we as a nation espouse, especially to the extent that it stems from purposefully exclusionary policies that impede the abilities of families to find affordable, appropriately-sized homes in neighborhoods where their children can thrive.

the book or individual chapters.