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Urban Studies Research
Volume 2014 (2014), Article ID 204583, 11 pages
Research Article

Neighborhood Social Capital, Neighborhood Disadvantage, and Change of Neighborhood as Predictors of School Readiness

1Department of Sociology, University of Toronto, 725 Spadina Avenue, Toronto, ON, Canada M5S 2J4
2The Prentice Institute for Global Population & Economy, University of Lethbridge, 4401 University Drive West, Lethbridge, AB, Canada T1K 3M4

Received 19 August 2013; Accepted 7 January 2014; Published 26 February 2014

Academic Editor: Joris Hoekstra

Copyright © 2014 Charles Jones and Jing Shen. This is an open access article distributed under the Creative Commons Attribution License, which permits unrestricted use, distribution, and reproduction in any medium, provided the original work is properly cited.


Neighborhood income and social capital are considered important for child development, but social capital has rarely been measured directly at an aggregate level. We used Canadian data to derive measures of social capital from aggregated parental judgments of neighborhood collective efficacy and neighborhood safety. Measures of neighborhood income came from Census data. Direct measures of preschoolers’ school readiness were predicted from neighborhood-level variables, with regional indicators and household/parental characteristics taken into account. Our findings show that (1) residing in Quebec, being Black, and having a parent who was born outside Canada are positively associated with children’s living in disadvantaged or low collective efficacy neighborhoods as well as with their living in low-income households. (2) Children’s odds of residential mobility were reduced when the origin neighborhood had higher collective efficacy but increased when the family rented rather than owned. (3) Both neighborhood collective efficacy and children’s ever having lived in a poor neighborhood were correlated with receptive vocabulary scores, but results were mixed for other cognitive dimensions. Children of younger mothers scored worse on receptive vocabulary. There were similar patterns for demographic predictors related to visible minority status, sibship size, and birth order. Neighborhood average income had no effect on cognitive outcomes when the region was controlled.