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The Housing and Children’s Healthy Development Study


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The Housing and Children’s Healthy Development (HCHD) study is the first randomized controlled trial (RCT) of the Housing Choice Voucher program, supporting estimates of the causal impacts of vouchers on children’s healthy development. The study data enable investigation of pathways by which a voucher may have positive effects, such as through improved housing and neighborhood conditions, freed up resources to spend on children’s enrichment, or parental mental health. This study is a valuable source of data and findings for researchers seeking to understand the Housing Choice Voucher program and its impacts on families and children.

The Housing and Children’s Healthy Development study emerged from the MacArthur Foundation’s Research Network on How Housing Matters for Children and Families, originally chaired by Tom Cook of Northwestern University and co-chaired by Kathryn Edin of Princeton and Sandra J. Newman of Johns Hopkins University. Newman succeeded Cook as principal investigator (PI) with Tama Leventhal of Tufts University as co-PI. The University of Michigan’s Survey Research Center (SRC) collected baseline data in the Cleveland and Dallas metropolitan areas in 2017-2018. Families were interviewed before they received a voucher. In 2020-2021, SRC collected the first wave of follow-up data by phone because the COVID-19 pandemic prevented in-person visits to families. The MacArthur Foundation, the National Institute of Child Health and Human Development, the U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development, and the Robert Wood Johnson Foundation funded the first two waves of data collection.

Research Design

The Research Design, Data Collection and Analysis Plan (RDDCAP) for the Housing and Children’s Healthy Development study was submitted to HUD as required under the terms of the cooperative agreement awarded to support the first wave of follow-up data collection. The RDDCAP describes the motivations for the study, including theory and policy areas. It details the research goals, study sites, study design, and data collection methods, including innovations and outcome measures in the domains of trade-offs in housing decisions, child development, and biology and health. It also describes planned analyses, explaining the strengths of using multiple waves of data collection and the RCT methodology.

The Research Design and Data Collection and Analysis Plan is available on the tab “Reports to HUD.”


Data, documentation, and codebooks will be available through the Inter-university Consortium on Political and Social Research (ICPSR) of the Institute for Social Research at the University of Michigan.