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Unpacking the Power of Privileged Neighborhoods

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Conventional wisdom says that place matters more for people who live in distressed neighborhoods—places with low median incomes and not a lot of opportunity. That’s why policymakers have traditionally focused on one of two place-based solutions. Community development grants and tax breaks, for example, are aimed at improving conditions by luring investment into disadvantaged areas. Housing voucher programs, meanwhile, are supposed to help low-income families escape distressed neighborhoods and move to ones with higher median incomes and better educational outcomes.

But what if our approach to geographical inequality is lopsided? What if we’re overlooking the contribution of so-called advantaged neighborhoods in maintaining the status quo?

In a 2019 paper published in Sociological Quarterly, Junia Howell, a sociologist at the University of Pittsburgh, argues just that. “As important as investigations into disadvantaged neighborhoods are,” she writes, “the nearly exclusive analytical focus on them has the unintentional consequence of downplaying the role that advantaged neighborhoods play in stratifying educational outcomes.”

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A new subdivision of high-end suburban homes in Highland, Maryland. Photo by Gary Cameron/Reuters.

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Click the link below for article:

https://getpocket.com/explore/item/unpacking-the-power-of-privileged-neighborhoods

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