The association between neighbourhoods and educational achievement, a systematic review and meta-analysis

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The research leading to these results has received funding from the European Research Council under the European Union's Seventh Framework Programme (FP/2007-2013) / ERC Grant Agreement n. 615159 (ERC Consolidator Grant DEPRIVEDHOODS, Socio-spatial inequality, deprived neighbourhoods, and neighbourhood effects). Many studies have examined the effects of neighbourhoods on educational outcomes. The results of these studies are often conflicting, even if the same independent variables (such as poverty, educational climate, social disorganisation, or ethnic composition) are used. A systematic meta-analysis may help to resolve this lack of external validity. We identified 5516 articles from which we selected 88 that met all of the inclusion criteria. Using meta-regression, we found that the relation between neighbourhoods and individual educational outcomes is a function of neighbourhood poverty, the neighbourhood’s educational climate, the proportion of ethnic/migrant groups, and social disorganisation in the neighbourhood. The variance in the findings from different studies can partly be explained by the sampling design and the type of model used in each study. More important is the use of control variables (school, family SES, and parenting variables) in explaining the variation in the strength of neighbourhood effects.