Why voucher and certificate users live in distressed neighborhoods

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review


The Section 8 voucher and certificate program potentially allows recipients to choose better neighborhoods than they might otherwise be able to afford. This article compares the location of households using Section 8 vouchers and certificates with the location of other renter households, both low-income renters and all renters. In 1998, Section 8 users were 75 percent as likely as other poor tenants to live in distressed neighborhoods but 150 percent more likely than all renters to live in such tracts. These national averages obscure substantial variation among metropolitan areas. Section 8 users concentrate in distressed neighborhoods when rental housing concentrates there, but they avoid distressed neighborhoods with very low rents. Concentration also hinges on race; when assisted households are mostly black and other residents are mostly white, assisted households are much more likely to live in distressed neighborhoods.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)881-910
Number of pages30
JournalHousing Policy Debate
Issue number4
StatePublished - Jan 1 2000
Externally publishedYes


  • Low-income housing
  • Mobility
  • Neighborhood

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Development
  • Urban Studies
  • Management, Monitoring, Policy and Law


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