You gotta move: Advancing the debate on the record of dispersal

Edward G. Goetz, Karen Chapple

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

92 Scopus citations


This paper summarizes the social science research on the record of housing dispersal programs since 1995. The research shows a consistently disappointing record of benefits to low-income households. Households moved out of high-poverty neighborhoods, voluntarily and involuntarily, show few or no beneficial effects in terms of economic self-sufficiency, health benefits, or social integration. The benefits of dispersal are confined to feelings of greater safety and satisfaction with neighborhood environmental conditions. We offer a framework for understanding the disappointing record of dispersal, highlighting its translation from social science diagnosis to policy, problems in the policy's implementation, its underlying theory of poverty, and the political context within which dispersal has been applied.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)209-236
Number of pages28
JournalHousing Policy Debate
Issue number2
StatePublished - 2010


  • Dispersal
  • Housing
  • Mobility
  • Relocation


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