The effect of school neighborhoods on teacher retention decisions


Donald Boyd


Hamilton Lankford


Susanna Loeb


Matthew Ronfeldt


James Wyckoff

Year of Publication: 
In G. Duncan & R. Murnane (Eds.)
New York: Russell Sage Foundation Press

A substantial body of research demonstrates that schools with large populations of poor, non-white and low-achieving students, on average have more difficulty attracting and retaining teachers (Boyd et. al., 2005; Boyd et al, 2009; Hanushek et. al., 2004; Ingersoll, 2001; Scafidi et. al., 2007). However, little work assesses the extent to which differences in the neighborhoods in which schools are located either affect teacher recruitment and retention or explain the observed relationship between school characteristics and teachers’ career choices. This paper uses newly compiled data on the neighborhoods of all schools in New York City, linked to a unique dataset on teachers’ applications to transfer, in order to assess the effects of neighborhoods on teachers’ career decisions. The analyses show that while school characteristics are more salient than neighborhood characteristics, neighborhoods do affect teachers’ choices. In particular, the income of neighborhood residents and the amenities available near the school both affect teachers’ decisions of where to teach, particularly in urban areas with high population-density.

Education Level:

APA Citation

Boyd, D., Lankford, H., Loeb, S., Rockoff, J., & Wyckoff, J. (2011). The effect of school neighborhoods on teacher retention decisions. In G. Duncan & R. Murnane (Eds.), . New York: Russell Sage Foundation Press.