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Center for Health Services and Outcomes Research

Program Evaluation

The Effects of Neighborhood Poverty on Health Care Utilization and Spending

In the 1990s, the Moving To Opportunity (MTO) social experiment randomized low income families in public housing in 5 different cities into three different groups: a control group, a traditional Housing Choice Voucher Program (Section 8), and an experimental voucher that could only be used in low poverty neighborhoods. The MTO intended to test whether offering housing vouchers could improve the long-term housing, employment, and educational achievements of the families assisted under that demonstration program. However, the long-term effects of the MTO on health have not been considered as a part of the initial experiment.

This study links data from the MTO social experiment to Medicaid data and all-payer hospital discharge data to examine the causal impact of neighborhood poverty on health care utilization and spending (long term health care use) among adults and children who participated in the MTO.

Related materials

Moving to Opportunity for Fair Housing Demonstration Program - Final Impacts Evaluation