Skip to main content
Open Access Publications from the University of California


UCLA Previously Published Works bannerUCLA

Early Child Development, Residential Crowding, and Commute Time in 8 US States, 2010-2017.

  • Author(s): Block, Eryn Piper
  • Zimmerman, Frederick J
  • Aguilar, Efren
  • Stanley, Lisa
  • Halfon, Neal
  • et al.


To examine relationships of residential crowding and commute time with early child development.


We used the Early Development Instrument (EDI), a teacher-reported, population-health measure of child development. The sample included child-level observations spanning 8 US states from 2010 to 2017 (n = 185 012), aggregated to the census tract (n= 2793), stratified by percentage of households in poverty. To test the association of commute times, crowding, and child development, we tested overall readiness and 5 EDI domains by using adjusted census tract-level multivariate regression with fixed effects.


In the full sample, a 1-standard-deviation increase in crowding was associated with 0.064- and 0.084-point decreases in mean score for cognitive development and communication skills, respectively. For the high-poverty subsample, a 1-standard deviation increase in commute time was associated with 0.081- and 0.066-point decreases in social competence and emotional maturity.


In neighborhoods with increased crowding or commute time, early child development suffers.

Policy implications

This study suggests a potential relationship between the changing urban landscape and child health. Children would benefit from more multisector collaboration between urban planning and public health.

Many UC-authored scholarly publications are freely available on this site because of the UC's open access policies. Let us know how this access is important for you.

Main Content
Current View