Date of Award


Degree Type


Degree Name

Master of Arts (MA)



First Advisor

Dr. Amy Spring

Second Advisor

Dr. Tomeka Davis

Third Advisor

Dr. James Ainsworth


This paper attempts to address a gap in the literature, which does not account for the role of extended kin in the social fabric of the neighborhood. More specifically, this project seeks to answer whether the neighborhood effect on the chances of high school graduation may be confounded by the density of kin ties. My specific research questions are: 1) does kin network density affect high school graduation rates? And 2) does kin network density confound the correlation between neighborhood disadvantage and high school graduation? Using data from the Panel Study of Income Dynamics, U.S. decennial censuses, and the American Community Survey, I assess the density of the kinship network, measured as average number of extended kin within three miles, and likelihood of high school graduation. Results suggest that kin density affects high school graduation, but there is no confounding relationship between neighborhood effect and kin density.