Poverty Concentration and Public Housing Programs

Bongoh Kye, University of California, Los Angeles

This paper investigates the relationship between neighborhood poverty and public housing. Using 1990 and 2000 geo-coded census data and HUD (Department of Housing and Urban Development) data, I estimate the effect on neighborhood poverty rates of existence of public housing and explore its geographical variation in five large American cities. First, I find the positive effect of presence of fixed public housing and voucher and certificate (VC) program in census tracts on neighborhood poverty rates after controlling for time-lagged neighborhood poverty rate. The effect of VC is smaller than that of fixed housing. Second, I find geographical variations in this effect. The effect of public housing on poverty rates are stronger in Chicago and New York, more racially segregated than the other three cities (Baltimore, Boston and Los Angeles). This is consistent with the idea that racial segregation contributes to poverty concentration. The implications and limitations are discussed.

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Presented in Poster Session 1