Commuting Patterns and the Housing Stock
This paper explores the usefulness of American Housing Survey (AHS) commuting data in investigating the spatial mismatch hypothesis. Briefly stated, this hypothesis states that housing and employment are spatially separated within metropolitan areas to the detriment of low-skilled workers; affordable housing is concentrated in central cities, but employment opportunities are dispersed in suburban areas. Although the AHS does collect a considerable amount of information about commuting behavior, it is inferior to data collection programs that focus on transportation, such as the National Household Transportation Survey (NHTS). However, the AHS collects more information about housing, costs, and demographic characteristics than the NHTS does. Much of the paper explores ways to merge the two surveys to produce a synthetic dataset more suitable to testing the spatial mismatch hypothesis. One appendix in the report is a literature review of the hypothesis and of the use of AHS data for commuting research.