For the past decade and a half, a concerted effort has been undertaken to determine whether policy interventions in residential location can solve the problems of inner-city poverty and racial concentration. Studies based on data from the Gautreaux litigation and the U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development (HUD)—sponsored Moving to Opportunity (MTO) program have provided an overall optimistic interpretation of the possibilities of improving inner-city lives via mobility vouchers and counseling. A reanalysis of the data from the MTO program, focusing specifically on African American households, suggests greater caution in the interpretation of the findings from either Gautreaux or the MTO program. No statistically significant difference exists between the percentage of poor or the percentage of African Americans in the current neighborhoods between MTO and Section 8 experimental groups. In some cases, there is no statistically significant difference between those who move with a voucher and those who move without any assistance at all. Although there is some evidence that MTO programs have brought specific gains for individual families, claims for the MTO program as a whole need to be treated with a great deal more caution than they have been to date.

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