Alternative Metric to Measure High-Opportunity Neighborhoods | How Housing Matters

Alternative Metric to Measure High-Opportunity Neighborhoods

June 29, 2017  
 
 
 

Using an alternative metric—the neighborhood distress index—to measure the Housing Choice Voucher (HCV) program’s ability to help poor households move to high-opportunity neighborhoods, Alex Schwartz and his colleagues find that HCV families are underrepresented in neighborhoods with the lowest levels of neighborhood distress. Low poverty is traditionally used to indicate that a neighborhood is high opportunity. But the authors propose using the neighborhood distress index, which incorporates five neighborhood variables: poverty rate, share of female-headed households, unemployment rate, share of households receiving public assistance, and share of adults not in school and without a high school diploma. Using data from the American Community Survey and administrative data from the HCV program, the authors examined the distribution of HCV families by race in all census tracts in metropolitan statistical areas in 2013. The authors compared this distribution with each census tract’s level of neighborhood distress and availability of affordable rental housing to examine whether the HCV program helps poor households relocate to high-opportunity neighborhoods—that is, census tracts with low levels of distress. Focusing their analysis on female-headed households with children, a population that prior research suggests would experience the greatest benefit from moving to high-opportunity neighborhoods, the authors consider the policy implications of their findings.

Key findings

  • There were almost no predominantly black or Hispanic neighborhoods with low or very low levels of distress, forcing HCV families to live in predominantly white or integrated neighborhoods if they want to live in high-opportunity neighborhoods.
  • Approximately 8 percent of black and Hispanic HCV families lived in predominantly white neighborhoods, and 38 to 40 percent were in integrated neighborhoods.
  • Housing Choice Voucher families were underrepresented in low-distress neighborhoods compared with the supply of available affordable rental housing in these areas, particularly for black and Hispanic families.
ShareShare on Facebook0Share on LinkedIn0Tweet about this on TwitterEmail this to someone
Source: Cityscape
Author: Alex Schwartz, Kirk McClure, Lydia B. Taghavi
Publication Date: 2016
Download Article

Add a Comment

Advanced Options

Filter Search:
Month
Day
Year
Events Calendar
Filter Search:
Month
Day
Year
S
M
T
W
T
F
S
Thursday, April 8, 2014
Sunday
Monday
Tuesday
Wednesday
Thursday
Friday
Saturday

Please select year

OK
X