The Effects of Assisted Housing on Child Well-Being

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11 Scopus citations


The most rigorous research on the causal effects of assisted housing on children's outcomes finds no such effects. The present study uses rich longitudinal data from the Panel Study of Income Dynamics, augmented with Census, American Community Survey and U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development administrative data, to unpack these nil effects. Analyses include 194 children ((Formula presented.) age = 6.2 years) living in assisted housing in 1995 or later who were 13–17 years old in 2002 or 2007, and an unassisted comparison group of 215 children who were income-eligible for, but never received, housing assistance. Results suggested no mean effects of living in assisted housing during childhood on adolescent cognitive, behavior, and health outcomes, addressing selection through propensity score matching and instrumental variables. However, quantile regressions suggest assisted housing provides an added boost for children with the best cognitive performance and fewest behavior problems but has opposite effects on children with the lowest cognitive scores and most behavior problems. Further tests indicate that these differences are not explained either by neighborhood effects or housing quality. A potentially fruitful avenue for future research investigates differences in how parents take advantage of the housing affordability provided by assisted housing to benefit their children.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)66-78
Number of pages13
JournalAmerican Journal of Community Psychology
Issue number1-2
StatePublished - Sep 2017


  • Assisted housing
  • Child development
  • Cognitive achievement
  • Housing quality
  • Neighborhood effects

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Health(social science)
  • Applied Psychology
  • Public Health, Environmental and Occupational Health


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