Study: More Than Income, Race Influences Neighborhood Standards
In the 1990s, the U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development carried out an experimental program called Moving to Opportunity for Fair Housing (MTO). Low-income families from Baltimore, Boston, Chicago, Los Angeles, and New York received housing vouchers and other assistance to relocate into neighborhoods with higher median incomes. In a recent report, researchers from the Cleveland Federal Reserve examine the legacy of MTO.
Their foremost conclusion is, simply, not all high-poverty (or low-poverty) neighborhoods are created equal. From Next City's article on the findings: "they say that it's possible that segregation — more than median income — affects schools, personal security, employment networks and access to public resources."
When policymakers and planners focus only on alleviating the effects of poverty, race-based inequities in neighborhood quality don't receive adequate attention. From the article: "Aliprantis and Kolliner's research suggests that if we continue to ignore racial segregation as a factor in neighborhood equality, policies aimed at creating opportunity for low-income Americans will continue to yield disappointing results."