• Transforming Communities
  • Volume 19, Number 1
  • Managing Editor: Mark D. Shroder
  • Associate Editor: Michelle P. Matuga
 

Opportunity and Housing Access

Arthur Acolin
University of Southern California

Susan Wachter
University of Pennsylvania


This article examines the relationship between employment opportunity and housing affordability. Access to locations with high-productivity jobs is increasingly limited by regional housing affordability barriers. Recent articles demonstrate a new regional divergence in access to high-productivity regions accompanied by declines in worker mobility associated with affordability barriers. We update these findings and discuss their long-term implications for economic opportunity and intergenerational welfare. We show that areas, from which lower-income households are increasingly priced out, are also more likely to have higher levels of intergenerational mobility. Access to opportunity also continues to be challenged within metropolitan areas as the gentrification of downtown neighborhoods is accompanied by an increase in concentrated poverty in outlying city neighborhoods and inner ring suburbs. These trends on regional and local scales derive from the increased importance of place in the knowledge-based economy and interact to reinforce growing spatial inequality. We conclude with a discussion of the importance of identifying place-based solutions to counter growing spatial inequality of opportunity.


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