Author ORCID Identifier

Robert L. Fischer

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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.


housing, early childhood, kindergarten readiness, neighborhood effects, integrated data systems

Publication Title

Children and Youth Services Review



First Page


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© 2016 Elsevier Ltd.


This is a peer reviewed Accepted Manuscript of an article published by Elsevier in Children and Youth Services Review, available at: 10.1016/j.childyouth.2016.06.017


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