Children behind cracked window pane

Neighbourhoods and children's opportunities: Researchers call for policy action for improvement

A new report written by economist Hans Grönqvist together with two research colleagues has investigated how residential areas affect children's future. The report shows that the conditions in areas where children grow up are important for their opportunities in the future.

There are major differences between Sweden's vulnerable areas and other residential areas. The researchers emphasise that the conditions in areas where children grow up affect their chances in life. It is particularly worrying that conditions in the vulnerable areas are worse. The researchers therefore urge politicians to take measures that will make it easier for families with children to move from these areas.

The researchers suggest several possible measures. For example, financial support can be given to families with children to help them move. Another possibility is to give priority in the municipal housing queue to families from disadvantaged areas, so that they can live in areas with better social and economic conditions. The researchers suggest that these measures can be combined with advice, possible rent subsidies or relocation allowances. This could be introduced on a trial basis and tested on a small scale.

But moving only certain families is not a long-term solution in itself, the researchers point out. They see increased police presence and substantial investments in schools and the labour market in vulnerable areas as important parameters.

Finally, the authors of the report highlight the need for more data collection and evaluation to understand causality and establish which measures actually improve conditions for children in vulnerable areas.

The report is written by researchers Hans Grönqvist, Linnaeus University, Susan Niknami, Stockholm University, and Torsten Santavirta, Uppsala University, on behalf of SNS.

The report can be downloaded here. On this page there is also a film from the seminar where the report is presented.