panic children, who are much more likely than white children to grow up in these circumstances. When juxtaposed with the rapid growth in these populations of children, this becomes a very worrisome finding.
Evidence on the impacts of neighborhood conditions on children's development is complex and continues to raise more questions than answers. For children residing outside the nation's inner cities, neighborhood conditions appear to be far less consequential for children 's development than conditions within the family. Population-based studies are consistent in showing much more variation in achievement, behavior, and parenting within than across neighborhoods. This certainly does not rule out the possibility of cost-effective community-based interventions outside high-poverty urban areas. Nor does it imply that certain children aren't affected in fundamental ways by the events and conditions in their neighborhoods. It may be the case that neighborhoods matter most when other risk factors are present, such as family poverty or mental health problems within families.
Yet for children living in dangerous environments, neighborhood conditions may matter a great deal. Such neighborhood conditions as crime, violence, and environmental health hazards constitute potent risk factors for children. Experimental evidence suggests that moving from high-poverty to low-poverty neighborhoods enhances the physical and psychological health of children and reduces violent crimes committed by adolescents. We do not yet know whether smaller, more easily achieved changes in neighborhood conditions will produce cost-beneficial improvements for young children's development.