Residence, Race, and Shared Resources: Does Kin Support Matter for Neighborhood Attainment?
Master of Arts
Vast racial disparities exist in terms of neighborhood quality, and a substantial body of literature on this topic has focused on the role of individuals’ race and socioeconomic status in structuring these outcomes. The link between family-level characteristics and neighborhood attainment has received less attention. Kin support, in the form of residential, financial, or childcare assistance, is one mechanism through which extended family networks can transfer resources and potentially lessen exposure to impoverished neighborhoods. While kin support can be a source of needed resources and can limit exposure to individual-level poverty, I examine whether this support also reduces exposure to neighborhood-level disadvantage. In addition, I explore whether this support mitigates or exacerbates the racial disparities in neighborhood poverty, as a result of who receives support and the characteristics of the resources. Using individual-level data from the Fragile Families and Child Wellbeing Study (N=3,916), merged with census-level data on neighborhood characteristics, I find that kin support does matter to neighborhood outcomes for new mothers. However, the strength and significance of this relationship depends on the type and arrangement of the support. Mothers who receive residential support by residing in a family member's home, relative to those who receive no support, have significantly lower odds of living in concentrated poverty. Both childcare and financial support, however, do not significantly predict mothers’ residential attainment after accounting for socioeconomic and demographic characteristics. In addition, accounting for kin support does not greatly influence the extent of the racial disparities in neighborhood quality. This project demonstrates that family networks and support play a role in structuring neighborhood outcomes, but that kin support does not help amend the racial inequalities in neighborhood context.
neighborhoods; race; kin support; Fragile Families and Child Wellbeing study; concentrated poverty