Does living in a distressed neighborhood affect the long-term health and economic security of low-income adults over the life course, and if so, what types of policy responses can remediate these "neighborhood effects" on health and well-being? We seek funding to answer these questions by analyzing data collected as part of the long-term follow-up (10-15 years) of low-income middle and older-aged adults participating in a unique randomized neighborhood mobility experiment known as Moving to Opportunity (MTO). The MTO demonstration used a randomized lottery to offer some public housing residents but not others the chance to relocate to less disadvantaged neighborhoods using a rental housing subsidy. MTO experimentally generated large differences in neighborhood characteristics for otherwise comparable groups of low-income, dispropor- tionately minority families. From 2008-10 in-person survey data and biomarkers were collected by our team from 3,215 female adults in MTO (mean age 45.6). The effective response rate to our surveys was 89 percent, and was quite similar across randomly-assigned MTO groups. Preliminary intention-to-treat analyses suggest that neighborhood environments may play an important role in determining some outcomes for low-income aging adults in the U.S., which in turn suggests the importance for science and policy of fully understanding these impacts and the nature of their determinants and underlying mechanisms.
The specific aims of the present application are as follows: 1. To estimate the long-term effects of MTO-induced neighborhood mobility on the full range of health and economic outcomes that were collected, and examine impacts for key baseline sub-samples. 2. To decompose the total effects of the intervention on these outcomes and identify the mechanisms through which the aggregate effects occurred. 3. To develop and test a structural model of neighborhood choice, which will be led by a new co- investigator that we have added to the team just for this purpose - Petra Todd. 4. To create a public use file and two restricted-use versions of the long-term MTO dataset that would be archived with ICPSR to be made directly available to outside researchers for secondary analysis. The overarching goal is to better understand the effects of MTO and neighborhood mobility on adult long-term health and economic security as well as the processes by which these outcomes are affected. This study will help shed light on larger disparities in health and economic outcomes across race and class lines. NIA funding is essential to carry out the data preparation, and data archiving described here.

Public Health Relevance

This project examines whether disparities in health and other outcomes can be explained in part by the increased likelihood that low-income and minority adults live in high-poverty, highly- disadvantaged neighborhoods. It will draw on biomeasures, surveys and other data from a unique housing experiment known as Moving to Opportunity (MTO). The project will also create a data archive to provide a foundation for future neighborhood research by medical and social science researchers.

National Institute of Health (NIH)
National Institute on Aging (NIA)
Research Project (R01)
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Social Sciences and Population Studies Study Section (SSPS)
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Phillips, John
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National Bureau of Economic Research
United States
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Kessler, Ronald C; Duncan, Greg J; Gennetian, Lisa A et al. (2014) Associations of housing mobility interventions for children in high-poverty neighborhoods with subsequent mental disorders during adolescence. JAMA 311:937-48
Sciandra, Matthew; Sanbonmatsu, Lisa; Duncan, Greg J et al. (2013) Long-term effects of the Moving to Opportunity residential mobility experiment on crime and delinquency. J Exp Criminol 9: