Can Poor Black Families Escape Segregated Neighborhoods?: Residential Mobility Patterns and Geographic Opportunity in Three Housing Voucher Programs

Stefanie DeLuca, Johns Hopkins University
Peter Rosenblatt, Johns Hopkins University

Residential segregation is a persistent feature in American cities. While research shows that black families do not move into integrated neighborhoods as readily as whites, it is difficult to know whether patterns are the result of barriers or preferences. We extend previous research using data from three assisted mobility programs: the Gautreaux program in Chicago, the federal Moving To Opportunity experiment, and data from the Thompson program in Baltimore. Preliminary findings suggest that low income black families will move to more integrated neighborhoods if given assistance, and many stay in these neighborhoods for years. We find that while over time, families move to less white neighborhoods, these areas are less poor and less segregated than original communities. Program differences in the use of race or poverty thresholds and housing counseling seem to help these families escape ghetto neighborhoods.

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Presented in Session 7: Migration, Race-Ethnicity and Community Change