National Institute on Aging

Racial Gap in Outcomes for Children Who Lived in Public Housing Have Disappeared

A new study by two researchers at Johns Hopkins University in Baltimore has found that Black and White children who grew up in public housing tend to fare similarly in educational attainment, earnings, and employment. This was not the case several decades ago.

C. Scott Holupka, senior research associate at the Bloomberg School of Public Health at Johns Hopkins University and lead author of the study, notes that “earlier work suggested Blacks were treated differently in assisted housing, but this new evidence suggests we’re not seeing that anymore.”

However, Black families getting subsidized housing are about nine time more likely than Whites to live in segregated, impoverished neighborhoods, the study found. Sandra J. Newman, a professor of public policy at Johns Hopkins University and co-author of the study, said that “while Black and White families have access to the same quality housing units, where that housing is located is a much harder problem to resolve — we need to fix the structural causes of geographic imbalance.”

The full study, “The Housing and Neighborhood Conditions of America’s children: Patterns and Trends Over Four Decades,” was published on the website of the journal Housing Policy Debate. It may be accessed here.


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