Why Concentrated Poverty Matters

Pathways Spring 2013, pg. 10-13

5 Pages Posted: 18 Sep 2013

See all articles by Lisa Gennetian

Lisa Gennetian

National Bureau of Economic Research (NBER)

Jens Ludwig

Georgetown University - Public Policy Institute (GPPI); National Bureau of Economic Research (NBER); IZA Institute of Labor Economics

Thomas McDade

Emory University

Lisa Sanbonmatsu

National Bureau of Economic Research (NBER)

Date Written: July 1, 2013

Abstract

In 1987 sociologist William Julius Wilson published his influential book The Truly Disadvantaged, which argued that the growing geographic concentration of poor minority families in urban areas contributed to high rates of crime, out-of-wedlock births, female-headed families, and welfare dependency. The exodus of black working- and middle-class families during the 1960s and 1970s from inner-city areas had adverse effects on the poor families left behind in high-poverty areas, Wilson suggested, by eliminating a “social buffer” that helped “keep alive the perception that education is meaningful, that steady employment is a viable alternative to welfare, and that family stability is the norm, not the exception” (p. 49). Our research on the U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development’s (HUD) Moving to Opportunity (MTO) randomized mobility experiment raises questions about whether Wilson was right about the effects of concentrated poverty on the earnings, welfare receipt, or schooling outcomes of low-income families living in such areas. But MTO suggests concentrated poverty does have extremely important impacts on outcomes not emphasized so much by Wilson – such as physical and mental health.

Keywords: housing, poverty, policy

Suggested Citation

Gennetian, Lisa and Ludwig, Jens and McDade, Thomas and Sanbonmatsu, Lisa, Why Concentrated Poverty Matters (July 1, 2013). Pathways Spring 2013, pg. 10-13. Available at SSRN: https://ssrn.com/abstract=2326579

Lisa Gennetian (Contact Author)

National Bureau of Economic Research (NBER) ( email )

1050 Massachusetts Avenue
Cambridge, MA 02138
United States

Jens Ludwig

Georgetown University - Public Policy Institute (GPPI) ( email )

3600 N Street, NW Suite 200
Washington, DC 20057
United States

National Bureau of Economic Research (NBER)

1050 Massachusetts Avenue
Cambridge, MA 02138
United States

IZA Institute of Labor Economics

P.O. Box 7240
Bonn, D-53072
Germany

Thomas McDade

Emory University ( email )

201 Dowman Drive
Atlanta, GA 30322
United States

Lisa Sanbonmatsu

National Bureau of Economic Research (NBER) ( email )

1050 Massachusetts Avenue
Cambridge, MA 02138
United States

Here is the Coronavirus
related research on SSRN

Paper statistics

Downloads
260
Abstract Views
1,794
rank
121,999
PlumX Metrics