Wednesday, September 26, 2012

Moving Out of a Poor Neighborhood Makes You Happier Like a $13,000 Raise

In the 1990s a major experiment was done to improve the lives of some of the poorest city people.  They were given subsidies to move out of the slums of concentrated poverty into neighborhoods that were a little better off and better mixed economically.  The policy makers hoped that the people who moved would get more education and better jobs.

They didn't.

What they did get, though, was much happier.  Moving their families to safer, less stressful neighborhoods increased their happiness the equivalent of a $13,000 raise.

A parallel experiment that moved poor non-white people into equally poor white neighborhoods had no such positive effect.

This report does not tell what happened to the children of these relocated families.  My guess is that they grew up safer, with better chances, and happier.


ajay said...

great post

Diane M said...

I would guess and hope that the children got better educations and jobs.

Along with the increase in happiness, I suspect the families had many small concrete ways that they were richer or had access to more resources.

Anonymous said...

What about the environmental and systemic barriers preventing families from making such a move? Also, interested to know about the majority of families able to make the move (i.e. race? two-parent household?)