Public Housing and the Spatial Concentration of Poverty: A Simulation Approach

Lincoln Quillian, Northwestern University
Marcel Knudsen, Northwestern University

This paper provides new estimates of the role of public housing in concentrating poverty spatially in American cities. This paper expands on prior work in three ways. First, it uses national data. Second, it uses a simulation relocation methodology which incorporates the fact that the residents of public housing would be living elsewhere if not in projects. Third it provides estimates of changes in the amount of public housing from 1997 to 2012 on levels of concentrated poverty, a period during which much public housing was demolished under the Hope VI program. The results show that relocation has small impacts on the spatial concentration of poverty evaluated nationally because public housing is a small share of all housing, and because former public housing residents increase the poverty tracts in their destination tracts of residence with relocation. Relocation does substantially decrease the tract poverty contact on average of (former) public housing residents.

  See paper

Presented in Session 7: Spatial Demographic Analysis of Poverty