Public Use Data (2008-10) on Neighborhood Effects on Obesity and Diabetes Among Low-Income Adults from the All Five Sites of the Moving to Opportunity Experiment

  • Jens Ludwig (Creator)
  • Lisa Sanbonmatsu (Creator)
  • Lisa Gennetian (Creator)
  • Emma K Adam (Creator)
  • Greg J. Duncan (Creator)
  • Lawrence F. Katz (Creator)
  • R. Kessler (Creator)
  • Jeffrey R. Kling (Creator)
  • Stacy T. Lindau (Contributor)
  • Robert C. Whitaker (Creator)
  • Thomas McDade (Creator)



Nearly 9 million Americans live in extreme-poverty neighborhoods, places that also tend to be racially segregated and dangerous. Yet, the effects on the well-being of residents of moving out of such communities into less distressed areas remain uncertain. Moving to Opportunity (MTO) is a randomized housing experiment administered by the United States Department of Housing and Urban Development that gave low-income families living in high-poverty areas in five cities the chance to move to lower-poverty areas. Families were randomly assigned to one of three groups: (1) the low-poverty voucher (LPV) group (also called the experimental group) received Section 8 rental assistance certificates or vouchers that they could use only in census tracts with 1990 poverty rates below 10 percent. The families received mobility counseling and help in leasing a new unit. One year after relocating, families could use their voucher to move again if they wished, without any special constraints on location; (2) the traditional voucher (TRV) group (also called the Section 8 group) received regular Section 8 certificates or vouchers that they could use anywhere; these families received no special mobility counseling; (3) the control group received no certificates or vouchers through MTO, but continued to be eligible for project-based housing assistance and whatever other social programs and services to which they would otherwise be entitled. Families were tracked from baseline (1994-1998) through the long-term evaluation survey fielding period (2008-2010) with the purpose of determining the effects of "neighborhood" on participating families. This data collection includes data from the 3,273 adult interviews completed as part of the MTO long-term evaluation. Using data from the long-term evaluation, the associated article reports that moving from a high-poverty to lower-poverty neighborhood was associated in the long-term (10 to 15 years) with modest, but potentially important, reductions in the prevalence of extreme obesity and diabetes. The data contain all outcomes and mediators analyzed for the associated article (with the exception of a few mediator variables from the interim MTO evaluation) as well as a variety of demographic and other baseline measures that were controlled for in the analysis.
Date made available2014
PublisherICPSR - Interuniversity Consortium for Political and Social Research
Geographical coverageNew York (state)

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