Objectives: The health consequences of neighborhood poverty are a public health problem. Data were obtained to examine links between neighborhood residence and mental health outcomes.
Methods: Moving to Opportunity was a randomized, controlled trial in which families from public housing in high-poverty neighborhoods were moved into private housing in near-poor or nonpoor neighborhoods, with a subset remaining in public housing. At the 3-year follow-up of the New York site, 550 families were reinterviewed.
Results: Parents who moved to low-poverty neighborhoods reported significantly less distress than parents who remained in high-poverty neighborhoods. Boys who moved to less poor neighborhoods reported significantly fewer anxious/depressive and dependency problems than did boys who stayed in public housing.
Conclusions: This study provides experimental evidence of neighborhood income effects on mental health.