Berkeley Program on Housing and Urban Policy
The Long-Run Consequences of Living in a Poor Neighborhood
- Author(s): Oreopoulos, Philip
- et al.
Many social scientists presume that the quality of the neigborhood to which children are exposed affects a variety of long-run social outcomes. I examine the effect on the long-run labor market outcomes of adults who were assigned, when young, to substantially different public housing projects in Toronto. Administrative data are matched to public housing addresses to track children from the program for over 15 years. The main finding is that neighborhood quality plays little role in determining a youth's adult earnings, education attainment, or welfare participation, but does affect exposure to crime. While living in contrasting housing projects cannot explain large variances in labor market outcomes, family differences, as measured by sibling outcome correlations, account for up to 30 percent of the total variance in the data.