Foreclosure and Kids: Does Losing Your Home Mean Losing Your SchoolReport as inadecuate

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Institute for Education and Social Policy

The recent foreclosure crisis has plagued nearly every city in the U.S., including New York City. Despite considerable attention to the causes of these mortgage foreclosures and the consequences they have had for communities, we know little about their impacts on individual families and children. Given that more than 2.8 million U.S. property owners received a foreclosure notice in 2010 alone; it is likely that large numbers of children are leaving their homes and moving schools, as well. This policy brief examines the prevalence of foreclosure among buildings housing New York City public school students and explores the relationship between foreclosures and student mobility. Specifically, the authors examine whether children who live in properties entering foreclosure are more likely than their peers to switch schools. Such mobility is of potential concern because research suggests that changing schools is often damaging to children's academic performance (Hanushek et al., 2004; Schwartz et al., 2007). This brief also explores how the new schools the children attend after moving differ from their origin schools, in terms of student demographics and performance. Our research focuses primarily on elementary and middle school students who attended New York City public schools in the 2003-04 and 2006-07 school years. For additional information on our data and methods, see Been et al. (2011), "Kids and Foreclosures: New York City." Key finding include: (1) 20,453 public school students lived in buildings that entered foreclosure in 2006-07; (2) 61 percent of students living in buildings that entered foreclosure lived in 2-4 family or larger multi-family properties; (3) 57 percent of students living in buildings that entered foreclosure in 2006-07 were black, compared to 33 percent of all other students; (4) Public school students living in buildings in foreclosure were more likely to change schools in the year following a foreclosure notice than other students, and the effect was amplified for children in multi-family buildings; (5) Students living in properties that entered foreclosure were significantly less likely than their peers to leave the New York City public school system in the subsequent year; and (6) Students who moved to new schools after a foreclosure moved to lower-performing schools on average. The change in school quality was no more dramatic, however, than that experienced by other students who moved schools.

Descriptors: Housing, Loan Default, Children, Public Schools, Student Mobility, Incidence, African American Students, Urban Schools, Elementary School Students, High School Students, School Effectiveness, Neighborhoods

Institute for Education and Social Policy. New York University, Joseph and Violet Pless Hall, 82 Washington Square East, New York, NY 10003. Tel: 212-998-5880; Fax: 212-995-4564; e-mail: iesp[at]; Web site:

Author: Been, Vicki; Ellen, Ingrid Gould; Schwartz, Amy Ellen; Stiefel, Leanna; Weinstein, Meryle


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