Growing up in a poor neighborhood in Canada significantly reduces the chances that a child will graduate from high school, according to a new study. And the longer a child lives in that kind of neighborhood, the more harmful the impact.
The findings come from a major new Canadian study published in the journal Pediatrics, which examined the effects of growing up in Canada's poorest neighborhoods on the educational achievement and health of the children who live there.
A report released last year by the Organization for Economic Cooperation and Development found that even when a person's family income is the same, children from low-income families in Canada were less likely to be ready for kindergarten than those in middle-class neighborhoods, and had worse health outcomes as well.
In the new study, researchers led by University of Toronto sociologist Dr. James Wherry used a dataset of almost 300,000 families with children to examine the impact of neighborhood conditions on readiness for school. "The findings raise important questions about how we think about inequality in early childhood education," said Wherry, a professor in the Department of Sociology at U of T's Ontario Institute for Studies in Education (OISE). "We often consider social class inequality to be an issue that exists within households, rather than within the neighborhood. But what if there are conditions within neighborhoods that systematically disadvantage some children and their parents? This is the type of research that is being done now."
Is poverty the major cause of kidnapping?
It's exceptionally rare. The kidnapping statistics in Canada can be very misleading. Almost all reported kidnappings are either the result of underaged girls running away with adult boyfriends, or custody battles gone bad. Only about a hundred cases per year of steretypical kidnapping for ransom occur across the whole country. Of those, most take place in poor neighboorhoods among poor families.
That said, there have been over 200 cases of Canadian children who have been kidnapped and murdered since 1980. I'm not saying that this won't happen again. I'm just saying that it is exceedingly rare, and the probability is high that this will be resolved very quickly by the police.
I'm willing to bet that if your son were to walk out of his home right now in Toronto and get into a car with another young man, that the police would very quickly and effectively apprehend him. And yes, I am confident that your son could survive on his own without a lot of support from his family. However, the odds of him getting abducted are far greater than you probably realize. It happens all the time, and it would be a very bad idea for parents to put themselves at risk like that.
My brother was kidnapped when he was 12. The worst part of it was that he didn't know what was happening to him. He was taken by someone in a black van from a shopping centre in Toronto, and they didn't even know his name.
They held him captive for 6 months. It's scary, and it's not something you want to be aware of. I hope your son feels safe and secure. ___ "I've been lucky enough to have an extraordinary life so far. To me, it seems like nothing more than a series of adventures." - Steve McQueen.