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Program on Human Development in Chicago Neighborhoods

Award Information

Award #
Funding Category
Awardee County
Congressional District
Funding First Awarded
Total funding (to date)

Description of original award (Fiscal Year 1993, $1,970,555)

A. Background
This supplements grant 93-IJ-CX-K005, for the Project on Human Development in Chicago Neighborhoods. The project is a long-term inquiry into the relationship between community, crime, delinquency, family, and individual development.
The project consists of two linked studies: a study of neighborhoods, and a longitudinal study of development. While each of these two studies is independently important, the project is unique in situating a longitudinal study of development within a study of the neighborhoods in which this development takes place. It thus has the potential to address important questions about how the surrounding social context affects individual development of delinquency and criminality.
The longitudinal study of development is being conducted within 80 neighborhoods, strategically chosen to help disentangle racial composition and socio-economic status. In the first wave of data collection, over 7,000 children aged 0 to 18 and their primary care-givers were interviewed during 1995-1997. This longitudinal study uses a complex 'accelerated longitudinal design,' in which 7 age group 'cohorts' (separated by about 3 years) are followed for about 5 years each. Developmental overlap between the cohorts will allow the cohorts to be combined statistically to create a virtual longitudinal study from ages 0 to 25, after only five years of data collection. The third wave of the longitudinal study was completed in 2001.
The first wave of the neighborhood study was conducted in 1995-96. Chicago was first divided into 343 neighborhoods on the basis of census and geographic data. A community survey was then conducted of almost 9,000 residents (approximately 25 residents per neighborhood). In addition, the researchers conducted 'systematic social observation' (SSO) of the social and physical disorder in 80 neighborhoods, which entails researchers observing and rating neighborhood conditions.
Analyses of the first wave of observational data were the subject of peer-reviewed journal articles and a NIJ Research In Brief (Sampson & Raudenbush. 2001. 'Disorder in Urban Neighborhoods'Does It Lead to Crime?') These papers demonstrated the utility of measuring disorder through direct observation, and that observed and reported disorder, while related, are not the same thing. For example, adjusted for measurement error, SSO social disorder correlates at r = .56 with survey-reported social disorder. SSO physical disorder correlated at r=.55 with survey-reported physical disorder. Current analyses also find that there is considerable individual-level variation in perceived disorder (from the survey) within the same neighborhoods.
Both the community survey and the SSO of the second wave of the neighborhood study have recently been completed and data are currently being prepared for analysis.
B. 2003 Project Description
2003 funding will primarily support the data management of the recently completed systematic social observation in the second wave of the neighborhood study, integration of data from the second wave of the neighborhood study with the longitudinal data, and analyses of those data. Particular questions for research are: (1) How are changes in neighborhood social composition and social organization linked to changes in crime event rates in Chicago neighborhoods? (2) How are changes in neighborhood social composition and social organization related to differences in the age-crime curves of individual young people growing up in Chicago? (3) How do residential moves across neighborhoods that vary in social organization relate to changes in the criminal offending of youth? (4) Do neighborhood and school context affect young people in a compensatory manner? Do healthy school contexts protect young people from the negative effects of troubled neighborhood environments, and vice versa?

Date Created: February 4, 1993