May 3, 2017
This article explores racial disparities between assisted housing outcomes of black and white and white households with children. We compare the assisted housing occupied by black and white households with children, and examine whether young adult education, employment, and earnings outcomes in 2011 differ between blacks and whites who spent part of their childhood in assisted housing in the 2000s. We use a special version of the Panel Study of Income Dynamics (PSID) that has been address-matched to federally assisted housing, and the PSID’s Transition to Adulthood supplement, along with geocode-matched data from the U.S. Census Bureau, American Community Survey (ACS), CoreLogic real estate data, and U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development (HUD). Statistical methods include difference in means, logit and general linear models. We find no evidence of racial disparities in the type of assisted housing program, the physical quality of project-based developments, or the management of public housing developments in the 2000 decade. But black households with children are more likely to live in assisted housing that is located in poorer quality neighborhoods. Multivariate tests reveal that the worse outcomes of black young adults compared with whites disappear once socioeconomic differences are taken into account. The discrepancy in assisted housing neighborhood quality experienced by black and white children makes no additional contribution to predicting young adult outcomes. Nonetheless, black children living in relatively better assisted housing neighborhoods tend to have better outcomes in young adulthood than those who live in poorer quality assisted housing neighborhoods. We discuss sources of racial disparity in neighborhood quality, and the policies enacted and proposed to address it.