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If Low-Income Blacks Are Given a Chance to Live in White Neighborhoods, Will They Stay? Examining Mobility Patterns with Quasi-Experimental Data (WP-02-28)

Stefanie DeLuca and James E. Rosenbaum

This study examines the long-term outcomes of the Gautreaux residential mobility program. Using administrative records provides baseline characteristics on all participants, and the study located recent addresses for nearly all participants an average of 17 years after they were originally placed. The results indicate that most families were placed in middle to high SES suburbs, and they currently still live in similar areas. We also find that most low-income black families who are placed in primarily white suburban neighborhoods did not return to the city, as previous research might have predicted. Although 84 percent of families made subsequent moves, even among movers, the racial composition of current address is strongly related to program placement, even after controls for family attributes. The results suggest that residential mobility may alter preferences or structural barriers, permitting families to follow new courses of action. The results suggest that residential mobility programs can have long-term consequences.

Stefanie DeLuca, Department of Sociology, Johns Hopkins University

James E. Rosenbaum, Human Development and Social Policy, Northwestern University

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