Are Census Variables Highly Correlated with Housing Choice Voucher Holders’ Perception of the Quality of Their Neighborhoods?
28 Pages Posted: 12 Dec 2014
Date Written: 2008
This article presents the results of a study examining voucher holders’ ratings of their neighborhoods on the U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development’s Housing Choice Voucher Program Customer Satisfaction Survey. Specifically, the study examines whether these ratings were internally consistent and whether they were highly correlated with any census neighborhood variables often used as measures of neighborhood quality. We found that the voucher holders’ neighborhood ratings were consistent with their answers to more specific survey questions about the attributes of their neighborhoods but only weakly correlated with census-based measures of neighborhood quality. Internal consistency was demonstrated by the strong correlation between neighborhood ratings and voucher holders’ perceptions of crime problems and physical disorder in their neighborhoods. The comparison with census-based measures of the neighborhood showed that, although a very systematic correlation exists between the neighborhood rating and census measures of the neighborhood, the correlation was not very strong for any of the census variables tested. The variable with the strongest correlation (percentage of female-headed households with children) explained less than 5 percent of the variation in the neighborhood rating. Furthermore, combining multiple census variables into a neighborhood quality indicator increased the explanatory power by only a small amount.
Keywords: Census Variables, Neighborhood Quality Perception, Housing Choice Voucher Holders
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