Does housing mobility policy improve health?

Dolores Acevedo-Garcia, Theresa L. Osypuk, Rebecca E. Werbel, Ellen R. Meara, David M. Cutler, Lisa F. Berkman

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

93 Scopus citations


This article summarizes the empirical evidence for the effect of housing mobility policies on health outcomes. Our focus derived from our interest in housing policies that might help reduce health disparities and our finding that, excluding policies concerned with the physical characteristics of housing (e.g., exposure to lead), only housing mobility has been evaluated for its effects on health. We reviewed 13 articles covering five housing mobility studies and ranked them according to their methodological strength. Although health data have been collected in just a few studies, our review finds that this policy may potentially contribute to improving the health of both adults and children. Yet the empirical evidence is sparse, and only a handful of studies are methodologically sound. To date, the strongest evidence derives from the Moving to Opportunity (MTO) demonstration and from the Yonkers evaluation of scattered-site public housing.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)49-98
Number of pages50
JournalHousing Policy Debate
Issue number1
StatePublished - Jan 1 2004
Externally publishedYes


  • Low-income housing
  • Neighborhood
  • Urban policy


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