Dr. Sandra Newman Shares Preliminary Results on Race Disparity in Affordable Housing

Sandra Newman, Ph.D., has been studying the relationship between housing and race for a long time. A professor of policy studies at Johns Hopkins University, she directs both the Center on Housing, Neighborhoods and Communities, and the International Fellows in Urban Studies Program at the Hopkins Institute for Health and Social Policy. A frequent guest at CLPHA meetings, Newman’s interdisciplinary work focuses on the effects of housing and neighborhoods on children and families. She joined us at the CLPHA Spring Meeting to talk about her latest research on race and affordable housing. Her work is currently under peer review but here are the preliminary results so far.

Looking at the physical condition of housing, quality of neighborhood, and the education/employment/earnings outcomes of children who were in assisted housing, the study’s results produced four main findings.

1. Historic disparities between races have largely disappeared and now there is parity in prevalence rates for black and white households with children.
2. There is no racial difference in physical quality or management scores for public housing.
3. The area where the study found very large differences was with neighborhood quality.
4. There were no differences in economic outcomes for follow-up with 26-year-olds between races.

Newman concluded that it was good news that there is now parity across race, as this is a major change from four decades ago. The study showed that neighborhood quality matters, but there are still many factors, including prejudicial landlords, discrimination and structural reasons, why black residents live in neighborhoods with lower quality across various defined aspects.

After the presentation, participants had quite a robust discussion that included follow-up questions and identifying additional details they hope future research will cover. Newman’s research, and other similar studies, shows that young children in “better” neighborhoods have increased opportunities as adults. We look forward to the publication of Newman’s work.