Out of Control Policy Blog

Turns out the poor like better neighborhoods too!

Who'd of thought it? Big news in the USA Today this morning about a study by Lance Freeman of Columbia looking at national data on gentrification. Turns out the poor are not displaced from gentrified neighborhoods any more than non-gentrified ones.

The poor like the improvements that come with gentrification too, and stay if they can. The poor also move a lot, so as some move out anyway, in gentrified areas they are often replaced by folks with more money. Not displaced.

Why do so many think there is a forcing out of the poor with gentrification? I think it is a salience effect. The study finds a lot of moving going on, and when new poor people move in to replace those who left, nothing changes, and only their friends notice. But when a poor family leaves and is replaced by college students or bohemian artists, that is a change and people notice.

Now, you could argue that a poor family would have moved in there if not for gentrification, so they are forced out in a sense. But at the same time, the vast majority of poor who stay in a neighborhood really benefit from the improvements.

Freeman's article itself, if you want to pay, here. It confirms results he found looking just at NYC and published in JAPA. Duke U's Jacob Vigdor found similar results as well.

Adrian Moore is Vice President, Policy


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