Changing the geography of opportunity by expanding residential choice: Lessons from the Gautreaux program

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Abstract

The concept of “geography of opportunity” suggests that where individuals live affects their opportunities. While multivariate analyses cannot control completely for individual self‐selection to neighborhoods, this article examines a residential integration program—the Gautreaux program—in which low‐income blacks are randomly assigned to middle‐income white suburbs or low‐income mostly black urban areas. Compared with urban movers, adult suburban movers experience higher employment but no different wages or hours worked, and suburban mover youth do better on several educational measures and, if not in college, are more likely to have jobs with good pay and benefits. The two groups of youth are equally likely to interact with peers, but suburban movers are much more likely to interact with whites and only slightly less likely to interact with blacks. The article considers how attrition might affect the observations and speculates about the program's strengths and pitfalls.
Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)231-269
JournalHousing Policy Debate
Volume6
DOIs
StatePublished - 1995

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