Neighborhoods are developmental contexts that contribute to human development, either directly or indirectly, by shaping individuals’ daily activities, social interactions, and contact with institutions. Researchers most often define neighborhoods using census-based areas that are geographic catchment areas used for planning and analytic purposes. This entry presents a few brief definitions and then describes the role of a selection of relevant neighborhood features during childhood, adolescence, and adulthood. Although other aspects of neighborhoods likely play a role, this overview focuses on neighborhoods’ contribution to physical health and mortality, school achievement, and social, emotional, and behavioral functioning.

Neighborhood research came to the forefront in the late 20th century and revealed links between neighborhoods and a range of individual outcomes across the life course. These influential neighborhood characteristics include ...

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