Housing Mobility and the Intergenerational Transmission of Neighborhood Poverty

Ann Owens, University of Southern California
Susan Clampet-Lundquist, Saint Joseph's University

This article uses mixed methods to identify factors that account for the intergenerational transmission of neighborhood poverty, drawing on longitudinal data from the Moving to Opportunity study in Baltimore from 1994 to 2010. We use quantitative survey data from nearly 500 young adults whose families participated in MTO during childhood and qualitative interview data from a subset of 51 subjects to examine family resources during childhood that account for residence in high-poverty neighborhoods in young adulthood, with special attention to whether housing assistance can break the intergenerational cycle of neighborhood poverty. We find that family economic resources, social ties to high-poverty neighborhoods, and parents’ neighborhood experiences and expectations during childhood all influence where children in the next generation live as they transition to adulthood. Moreover, housing assistance has both replacement effects—substituting for what families lack—and enhancement effects—enabling resource-rich families—for neighborhood outcomes across generations.

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Presented in Session 185: Transitions to Adulthood