Planning for Opportunity: How Planners Can Expand Access to Affordable Opportunity Bargain Areas
There is strong evidence that living in high-opportunity neighborhoods can improve children's long-term educational and economic outcomes; translating this into practical advice for planners is difficult. Planning discussions rarely consider how much that opportunity costs, even though planners must grapple with the typically higher cost of providing housing in opportunity areas. This paper argues for a streamlined measure called the school–violence–poverty (SVP) index based on three contemporary metrics that research shows enhance economic mobility for children: school quality, violent crime, and poverty.
The Academic Effects of Chronic Exposure to Neighborhood Violence
Since the pandemic began, the city has experienced a significant increase in gun violence and homicide which can lead to emotional distress, behavioral changes, and detrimental cognitive effects for students. This paper examines the differences between students with varying levels of crime exposure and finds that increased exposure results in lower English Language Arts (ELA) and math exam scores. The paper’s regression models suggest that exposure to violence had an adverse effect on reading and math test scores for students, and the effects increased with the number of violent crimes. The results provide some support for the theory that students can become sensitized to violence through increased exposure, meaning that children in more violent communities see the largest decline in test scores with each additional exposure to violent crime. The study also finds racial and gender differences, with Black and female students experiencing the largest test score losses as exposure to violent crimes increased.
Do Housing Vouchers Improve Academic Performance? Evidence from New York City
This paper examines whether—and to what extent—housing vouchers improve educational outcomes for students whose families receive them. Using data from New York City, the nation's largest school district, the authors match over 88,000 school‐age voucher recipients to longitudinal public school records. Results indicate that students in voucher households perform better in both English Language Arts and Mathematics in the years after they receive a voucher.
Do Vouchers Protect Low-Income Households from Rising Rents?
Using restricted administrative data on the voucher program, the authors examine the experience of voucher holders in metropolitan areas with rising rents. While some of the authors' models suggest that rising rents in metropolitan areas are associated with a slight increase in rent-to-income ratios among voucher holders, poor renters in general see significantly larger increases in rent-to-income ratios. The authors see little evidence that rising rents push voucher holders to worse neighborhoods, with voucher holders in central cities ending up in lower-poverty neighborhoods as rents rise. It appears that vouchers may help low-income households remain in neighborhoods as they gentrify.
Does Gentrification Displace Poor Children? New Evidence from New York City Medicaid Data
This paper by Ingrid Gould Ellen, Sherry Glied, and Kacie Dragan examines gentrification’s impact on the displacement of low-income families. While many see this relationship as causal, existing quantitative evidence is lacking, partly due to limited data and challenges in measurement. This paper examines the relationship between the frequency and distance of low-income families’ residential moves, as well as the housing and neighborhood conditions in which they live. Using longitudinal New York City Medicaid records, the authors track the movement and compare the outcomes of low-income children from 2009 through 2015, a seven-year period in which the city experienced high levels of gentrification, distinguishing between children who move and those that remain in place.
Read the published version in Regional Science and Urban Economics >>
Open Access School Climate and the Impact of Neighborhood Crime on Test Scores
Does school climate ameliorate or exacerbate the impact of neighborhood violent crime on test scores? Using administrative data from the New York City Department of Education and the New York City Police Department, this study finds that exposure to violence in the residential neighborhood and an unsafe climate at school lead to substantial test score losses in English language arts (ELA). Middle school students exposed to neighborhood violent crime before the ELA exam who attend schools perceived to be less safe or to have a weak sense of community score 0.06 and 0.03 standard deviations lower, respectively. The study finds the largest negative effects for boys and Hispanic students in the least safe schools, and no effect of neighborhood crime for students attending schools with better climates.
Housing and Educational Opportunity: Characteristics of Local Schools Near Families with Federal Housing Assistance
This report focuses on access to neighborhood elementary schools, highlighting disparities between families living in subsidized housing and those who do not. It describes the characteristics of the local public elementary schools to which children living in subsidized housing have access, including their student demographics, teacher characteristics and relative proficiency rates. The report shows that that families receiving all four major types of federal housing assistance lived near lower performing and higher poverty schools than other poor families with children as well as other renters with children.
Why Don’t Housing Voucher Recipients Live Near Better Schools? Insights from Big Data
This paper by Ingrid Gould Ellen, Keren Mertens Horn, and Amy Ellen Schwartz, published in the Journal of Policy Analysis and Management, uses administrative data to explore why voucher households do not live near to better schools, as measured by school-level proficiency rates. It seeks to shed light on whether voucher households are more likely to move toward better schools when schools are most relevant, and how market conditions shape that response. The authors find that families with vouchers are more likely to move toward a better school in the year before their oldest child meets the eligibility cutoff for kindergarten. Further, the magnitude of the effect is larger in metropolitan areas with a relatively high share of affordable rental units located near high-performing schools and in neighborhoods in close proximity to higher-performing schools. Results suggest that, if given the appropriate information and opportunities, more voucher families would move to better schools when their children reach school age.
Black and Latino Segregation and Socioeconomic Outcomes
Latinos seem to be inheriting the segregated urban structures experienced by African Americans and, to a similar extent, the diminished social and economic outcomes associated with segregation. This brief examines the relationships between metropolitan segregation levels and socioeconomic outcomes for Latinos and African Americans and explores mechanisms to explain these relationships. It finds that in more segregated metropolitan areas, both native-born Latinos and African Americans are significantly less likely compared with whites to graduate from high school and college, are more likely than whites to be neither working nor in school. Additionally, higher levels of segregation are associated with dramatic reductions in earnings for both African Americans and Latinos relative to whites. The research brief summarizes the findings of the article, Desvinculado y Desigual: Is Segregation Harmful to Latinos? (PDF), which was published in the July 2015 edition of The Annals of the American Academy of Political and Social Science. See the press release or read the key findings.
Desvinculado y Desigual: Is Segregation Harmful to Latinos?
Despite the high levels of metropolitan area segregation experienced by Latinos, there is a lack of research examining the effects of segregation on Latino socio-economic outcomes and whether those effects differ from the negative effects documented for African Americans. The authors find that segregation is consistently associated with lower levels of educational attainment and labor market success for both African-American and Latino young adults compared to whites, with associations of similar magnitudes for both groups. One mechanism through which segregation may influence outcomes is the difference in the levels of neighborhood human capital to which whites, Latinos, and African Americans are exposed. The authors find that higher levels of segregation are associated with lower black and Latino neighborhood exposure to residents with college degrees, relative to whites. They also find support for other commonly-discussed mechanisms, such as exposure to neighborhood violent crime and the relative proficiency of the closest public school.