The benefits of exposure to higher opportunity neighborhoods are larger for children who move when young.
Two landmark studies by noted Harvard economists show that when it comes to
housing mobility, early intervention is critical.
In a 2015 study using big data to analyze 5 million families that moved across county lines, Harvard economists Raj Chetty and Nathaniel Hendren found that neighborhood quality has a direct impact on children's life trajectories, and that the gains from moving to a better neighborhood are larger for children who are younger at the time of the move.
Similarly, in their analysis of the Moving to Opportunity Study, Harvard economists Raj Chetty, Nathaniel Hendren, and Lawrence Katz found that the gains from moving to a better neighborhood fell linearly with the age at which children moved.
"The gains from moving to a better area are larger for children who are younger at the time of the move."
Harvard Evaluation of the Moving to Opportunity Study
The Achievement Gap
The achievement gap already exists at the start of kindergarten.
Average test score: top quintile SES child
Average reading score: bottom quintile SES child
Average math score: bottom quintile SES child
Source: Duncan and Magnuson 2011
Informed by research indicating that the achievement gap emerges in early childhood and that the effects of exposure to better neighborhoods are cumulative, our model is designed to intervene in as early as possible.