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Choosing a Better Life?

Evaluating the Moving to Opportunity Social Experiment

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Document date: June 15, 2003
Released online: June 15, 2003
As the centerpiece of policymakers’ efforts to “deconcentrate” poverty in urban America, the Moving to Opportunity (MTO) project gave roughly 4,600 volunteer families the chance to move out of public housing projects in deeply impoverished neighborhoods in five cities—Baltimore, Boston, Chicago, Los Angeles, and New York. Researchers wanted to find out to what extent moving out of a poor neighborhood into a better-off area would improve the lives of public housing families. Choosing a Better Life? is the first distillation of years of research on the MTO project, the largest rigorously designed social experiment to investigate the consequences of moving low-income public housing residents to low-poverty neighborhoods. In this book, leading social scientists and policy experts examine the legislative and political foundations of the project, analyze the effects of MTO on lives of the families involved, and explore lessons learned from this important piece of U.S. social policy. “I recommend the book to all scholars of housing and antipoverty policy.” --Henry Cisneros, former Secretary of Housing and Development

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