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Cityscape: Volume 14 Number 2 | Article 5


Moving to Opportunity

Volume 14 Number 2

Mark D. Shroder
Michelle P. Matuga

The Long-Term Effects of Moving to Opportunity on Youth Outcomes

Lisa A. Gennetian, The Brookings Institution

Matthew Sciandra, National Bureau of Economic Research

Lisa Sanbonmatsu, National Bureau of Economic Research

Jens Ludwig, University of Chicago, National Bureau of Economic Research

Lawrence F. Katz, Harvard University, National Bureau of Economic Research

Greg J. Duncan, University of California, Irvine

Jeffrey R. Kling, Congressional Budget Office, National Bureau of Economic Research

Ronald C. Kessler, Harvard Medical School

The contents of this article are the views of the authors and do not necessarily reflect the views or policies of the U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development, the Congressional Budget Office, the U.S. government, or any state or local agency that provided data.


Evidence about the effects of neighborhood environments on children and youth is central to the design of a wide range of public policies. Armed with long-term survey data from the Moving to Opportunity (MTO) for Fair Housing demonstration final impacts evaluation (Sanbonmatsu et al., 2011), we have the opportunity to understand whether neighborhood poverty and related characteristics exert an independent causal effect on the life chances of young people. Findings from analyses of youth in the long-term survey for the final impacts evaluation show that MTO had few detectable effects on a range of schooling outcomes, even for those children who were of preschool age at study entry. MTO also had few detectable effects on physical health outcomes. In other youth outcome domains, patterns of effects on youth were similar to, but more muted than, those in the interim impacts evaluation (Orr et al., 2003), with favorable patterns among female youth—particularly on mental health outcomes—and less favorable patterns among male youth.

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