Neighborhood Quality, Childcare Quality, and Children's Early Developmental Outcomes




Bor, Elif

Journal Title

Journal ISSN

Volume Title



There has been mounting interest in the social sciences about the importance of multiple ecological contexts such as family, child-care settings, and neighborhoods that influence developmental outcomes in children. While the influence of the immediate family environment on early development has been investigated in detail, the effects of distal contexts beyond the family have only recently received attention. As a result of the changing trends in parental employment (e.g., growth in maternal employment) during the past half century, young children have begun to spend substantial hours in various child-care settings and to experience direct contact with neighborhoods through several neighborhood settings such as parks, churches, libraries, and children’s programs. The purpose of this current study is to explore the ways in which the interrelations between two important ecological systems -- neighborhood and childcare -- are associated with young children’s cognitive, social-emotional, language, and behavioral outcomes. As a part of a larger project, The Miami School Readiness Project, participants included 7,563 four-year-old preschool children receiving subsidies to attend community-based childcare, Title 1 public school pre-k programs, and children attending fee supported public-school pre-k programs in Miami-Dade County, Miami, Florida. Hypotheses were tested using statistical analyses including correlations, multiple regressions, and ANOVA. The results revealed small but significant relations between neighborhood characteristics and child outcomes. First of all, neighborhood risk negatively predicted children’s social-emotional and language outcomes after controlling for the family-level characteristics of parent income, parent education, and parent ethnicity. Among the neighborhood dimensions, socio-economic status was found to be the most influential characteristic of neighborhoods on child outcomes. Second, the quality of childcare services was lower in high-risk neighborhoods. Unexpectedly, high-socio economic status of the neighborhoods predicted only the facilities and building attractiveness of childcare, but did not predict the quality of services, activities, and interactions provided by childcare centers. Third, the relationship between the neighborhood quality and children’s outcomes was found to be stronger for children attending public school pre-kindergarten programs than for children receiving subsidies to attend community-based childcare centers. Fourth, family density/the presence of young children was negatively associated with childcare quality indicating that high quality childcare services are not found in the neighborhoods where they are needed the most. Finally, childcare quality did not buffer against the influence of neighborhood risk on development.



Neighborhood Quality, Childcare Quality, Early childhood, Children's Developmental Outcomes