Neighborhood and network disadvantage among urban renters

Matthew Desmond, Weihua Anb

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

11 Scopus citations


Drawing on novel survey data, this study maps the distribution of neighborhood and network disadvantage in a population of Milwaukee renters and evaluates the relationship between each disadvantage and multiple social and health outcomes. We find that many families live in neighborhoods with above average disadvantage but are embedded in networks with below average disadvantage, and vice versa. Neighborhood (but not network) disadvantage is associated with lower levels of neighborly trust but also with higher levels of community support (e.g., providing neighbors with food). Network (but not neighborhood) disadvantage is associated with lower levels of civic engagement. Asthma and diabetes are associated exclusively with neighborhood disadvantage, but depression is associated exclusively with network disadvantage. These findings imply that some social problems may be better addressed by neighborhood interventions and others by network interventions.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)329-349
Number of pages21
JournalSociological Science
StatePublished - Jun 24 2015
Externally publishedYes

All Science Journal Classification (ASJC) codes

  • General Social Sciences


  • Neighborhood effects
  • Poverty
  • Social networks
  • Urban sociology


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