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Parents always want the best for their children – or at least, what they can get within their means. But the biggest investment parents can make on their kids, says the Independent, is buying homes that have good neighbourhoods and are in the catchment areas of great schools.

Ann Owens, a sociologist at USC, has research suggesting that the expanding income segregation in the US is driven from affluent parents buying in areas that meet these criteria – which just so happens to be where other wealthy parents are also living or moving in, thus pricing out poorer families.

Forty to fifty years of social-science research tells us what an important context neighborhoods are, so buying a neighborhood is probably one of the most important things you can do for your kid. There’s mixed evidence on whether buying all this other stuff matters, too. But buying a neighborhood basically provides huge advantages.

Quality schools in a given neighbourhood has always attracted premium prices in terms of housing – particularly for highly dense metropolitan areas like London or New York. It then essentially becomes a constant battle where richer and richer families fight over finite housing in that area.

This has also meant that these neighbourhoods and schools become less and less integrated and diverse and more segregated with the rest of the general population. But of course some families would deliberately want that.

Besides giving their children, the best possible education they can afford, parents are also driven by the environment they want their children to grow up in. Namely that they want their families to be surrounded by like-minded or better families (in terms of wealth) to give them the best probability of “doing well” in life.

On a very simplistic level, this can also apply to you as an individual and who you surround yourself with. You are the sum of the people you choose to have around you so if you want to be “better”, ask yourself if the individuals you currently have in your everyday life are people who can help you grow and emulate and support you on where you eventually want to be.

Source: Rich parents can make one investment that gives their children an edge | The Independent

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