You are where you live: Methodological challenges to measuring children’s exposure to hazards

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Department of Social Sciences


Many of the challenges that affect children living in poverty are directly related to the neighborhoods in which they live. Places that inhibit healthy living and those that expose children to environmental pollution tend to more heavily affect children in poverty. This environmental injustice is a natural concern of the fields of urban planning, geography, and children’s health. Yet many decisions that affect opportunities for healthy living are made without a full understanding of how neighborhood context influences such opportunities. In this brief, we paint inequalities in child health outcomes as a spatial problem, review some of the geospatial tools used by urban planners and geographers, discuss common reasons for misclassification or misrepresentation of spatially explicit problems, and propose more suitable methods for measuring opportunities and exposures germane to the field of child poverty. Throughout, we emphasize the need for evidence-driven, spatially grounded responses to child poverty issues with a spatial dimension.

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© 2017 Informa UK Limited, trading as Taylor & Francis Group.

Publication Title

Journal of Children and Poverty