Neighborhood Effects on Health

Award Year:
Greg Duncan, Jens Ludwig
Neighborhood Health
In 2000 roughly 8 million Americans, a disproportionate number of them minorities, lived in neighborhoods with poverty rates of more than 40 percent, and also suffered alarmingly high rates of poor health outcomes. In a new book, Jens Ludwig, Ph.D., McCormick Foundation Professor of Social Service Administration, Law, and Public Policy at the University of Chicago, and Greg J. Duncan, Ph.D., Distinguished Professor of Education at the University of California, Irvine, will explore how various "place-based" public policies might improve health and other outcomes for some of the nation's most disadvantaged families living in some of our most distressed urban neighborhoods. Their book will focus on lessons from one of the most ambitious randomized environment experiments ever undertaken, the five-city U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development's Moving to Opportunity program. Through a random lottery, some very low-income families living in public housing were offered a chance to relocate to less distressed areas. Using a range of outcomes data, the investigators expect to produce "gold standard" evidence illuminating the ways in which changing neighborhoods affect health and well-being. Their study, Neighborhood Effects on Health, will also analyze the costs and benefits of mobility and community-level interventions and has the potential to inform a wide range of health, education, community development, and other social policies.