Cities in the US have become home to an increasing concentration of poor households, disproportionately composed of racial and ethnic minorities. In the US, poor and minority populations are overrepresented in public housing, mostly located in central cities. Racial and ethnic minorities in American public housing are, for the most part, composed of native-born households whereas in Europe they are more likely to be foreign-born. After a description of this concentration of poor and minority populations in public housing, we examine the effect of public housing on neighbourhood poverty rates in central cities. We construct a longitudinal database (1950-90) for four large cities-Boston, Cleveland, Detroit and Philadelphia—and examine the relationship between the location of public housing and changes in neighborhood poverty rates. We find that in each city, one or more of the variables relating to the existence of public housing is significantly related to increases in neighbourhood poverty rates in succeeding decades.
The influx of immigrants to New York City increases the demand for housing. Because the city has one of the nation’s tightest and most complicated housing markets, immigrants may disproportionately occupy the lowest-quality housing. This article examines homeownership, affordability, crowding, and housing quality among foreign- and native-born households. Overall, foreign-born households are more likely to be renters and encounter affordability problems. Multivariate analyses reveal that foreign-born renters are more likely to live in overcrowded and unsound housing but less likely to live in badly maintained dwellings. However, compared with nativeborn white renters, immigrants—especially Puerto Ricans, Dominicans, Caribbeans, Africans, and Latin Americans—are more likely to live in badly maintained units. Because this disadvantage is shared by native-born blacks and Hispanics, it strongly suggests that race and ethnicity are more significant than immigrant status per se in determining housing conditions.
This article synthesizes findings from a wide range of empirical research into how neighborhoods affect families and children. It lays out a conceptual framework for understanding how neighborhoods may affect people at different life stages. It then identifies methodological challenges, summarizes past research findings, and suggests priorities for future work.