Temporal effects of distressed housing on early childhood risk factors and kindergarten readiness

Claudia J. Coulton, Francisca Richter, Seok Joo Kim, Robert Fischer, Youngmin Cho

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

22 Scopus citations


Poor housing quality and housing crises have been linked to adverse outcomes for children. However, few studies have focused on the early childhood period or been able to pinpoint how the timing and duration of housing problems contributes to early educational success. This longitudinal study draws on linked administrative records from housing, education, social service and health agencies to examine the influence of exposure to housing neighborhood conditions since birth on school readiness of all children entering kindergarten over a four-year period in a big city school system. Using marginal structural models that properly account for dynamic housing and neighborhood selection, we find that children exposed to problematic housing and disadvantaged neighborhoods have lower kindergarten readiness scores after accounting for other factors. The negative effects of housing problems on kindergarten readiness are partially mediated by child maltreatment incidences, residential instability, and elevated blood lead levels. Communities are advised to pay more attention to distressed housing as a cause of disparities in early child development and school readiness.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)59-72
Number of pages14
JournalChildren and Youth Services Review
StatePublished - 1 Sep 2016

Bibliographical note

Publisher Copyright:
© 2016 Elsevier Ltd


  • Early childhood
  • Housing
  • Integrated data systems
  • Kindergarten readiness
  • Neighborhood effects


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