From our January 2015 issue: Adrift at the Margins of Urban Society What Role Does Neighborhood Play?

    1. George Galster1
    2. Anna Maria Santiago2
    3. Jessica Lucero3

    1. 1Wayne State University, Detroit, MI, USA

    2. 2Case Western Reserve University, Cleveland, OH, USA

    3. 3Utah State University, Logan, UT, USA
    1. George Galster, Department of Urban Studies and Planning, Wayne State University, 656 W. Kirby St., Detroit, MI 48202, USA. Email:


    We quantify how social detachment (measured as neither working nor attending school) of low-income African-American and Latino young adults relates to their teen neighborhood conditions. Data come from retrospective surveys of Denver Housing Authority (DHA) households. Because DHA household allocation mimics quasirandom assignment to neighborhoods throughout Denver County, this program represents a natural experiment for overcoming geographic selection bias. Our multilevel, mixed-effects logistic analyses found significant relationships between neighborhood safety and population composition and odds of social detachment of low-income, minority young adults that can be interpreted as causal effects. The strength of these relationships was often contingent on gender and ethnicity, however. We draw conclusions for macroeconomic, income-support, subsidized housing and community development policy.

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