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Moving to Opportunity The Story of an American Experiment to Fight Ghetto Poverty

ISBN-10: 0195392841
ISBN-13: 9780195392845
Edition: 2010
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Description: If "bad" neighborhoods are truly bad for children and families, especially the minority poor, can moving to better neighborhoods lead them to better lives? Might these families escape poverty altogether, beyond having a better quality of life to  More...

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Book details

List price: $20.95
Copyright year: 2010
Publisher: Oxford University Press, Incorporated
Publication date: 3/31/2010
Binding: Paperback
Pages: 352
Size: 6.00" wide x 8.75" long x 0.75" tall
Weight: 1.276
Language: English

If "bad" neighborhoods are truly bad for children and families, especially the minority poor, can moving to better neighborhoods lead them to better lives? Might these families escape poverty altogether, beyond having a better quality of life to help them cope with being poor? Federal policymakers and planners thought so, on both counts, and in 1994, they launched Moving to Opportunity. The80 million social experiment enrolled nearly 5,000 very low-income, mostly black and Hispanic families, many of them on welfare, who were living in public housing in the inner-city neighborhoods of Baltimore, Boston, Chicago, Los Angeles, and New York. Yet five years after they had entered the program, many of the families in the favored "experimental" group had returned to high poverty neighborhoods. Young women showed big drops in risky behavior and big improvements in mental health, on average, while young male movers did not. The males even showed signs of increased delinquency if they had lived, at least for a time, in the low poverty areas. Parents likewise showed major drops in anxiety and depression-two of the crippling symptoms of being chronically poor in high-risk ghettos-but not in employment or income. And many movers appeared to be maintaining the same limited social circles-mostly disadvantaged relatives and close friends-despite living in more advantaged neighborhoods. The authors of this important and engaging new book wanted to know why. Moving to Opportunity tackles the great, unresolved question of how to overcome persistent ghetto poverty. It mines a unique demonstration program with a human voice, not just statistics and charts, rooted in the lives of those who "signed up" for MTO. It shines a light on the hopes, surprises, achievements and limitations of a major social experiment-and does so at a time of tremendous economic, social, and political change in our nation. As the authors make clear, for all its ambition, MTO is a uniquely American experiment, and this book brings home its lessons for policymakers and advocates, scholars, students, journalists, and all who share a deep concern for opportunity and inequality in our country.

John M. Goering received his Ph.D. from Brown University and is program manager for Fair Housing in the Office of Policy Development and Research, U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development. He is the author of The Best Eight Blocks in Harlem.

Places and Lives
Ghetto Poverty Before and After Katrina
Great Expectations and Muddling Through: Designing and Launching the Experiment
The Unequal Geography of Opportunity
Moving to Security
When Your Neighborhood Is Not Your Community
Struggling to Stay Out of High-Poverty Neighborhoods: Finding Good Housing
Finding Good Schools
Finding Work
Lessons
Appendix: Studying Moving to Opportunity
Notes
Works Cited
Index

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