A large-scale study of an economic integration experiment designed to break the link between income and neighborhood found “few detectable long-term effects on achievement and educational outcomes, physical health, and several aspects of risky behavior.” The Moving to Opportunity program recruited 4,600 low-income families and randomly assigned some families a housing voucher to move to lower poverty neighborhoods. Then, it compared the educational, social, and economic outcomes of those families against a control group that did not receive the voucher. Even for the youngest children, who potentially had the most to gain, the program had no discernible effects on reading or math achievement. For slightly older youth, the program had no effects on achievement, years of schooling, completion of high school or enrollment in higher education, or employment. Although overall the program did not show positive effects on physical or mental health, the lone bright spot were some positive mental health outcomes for young women.
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