A housing mobility program’s impacts on teen and young adult parenting

Focus Areas: Health & Wellness Economic Empowerment

The purpose of this publication is to assess the impact of the Moving to Opportunity for Fair Housing Demonstration Program (MTO) implemented in 1994 in five U.S. cities (Baltimore, Boston, Chicago, Los Angeles, and New York City) on teen births.

We analyzed baseline and long-term evaluation data for youth (ages 13-20) and young adults (ages 21-30) (N = 7861) who were children or teens at baseline. We used regression analyses to estimate the impact of housing vouchers on having a teen birth.

Overall, MTO had no significant effect on teen births. However, among young adults whose parent had a child before age 20, the proportion with a teen birth themselves was 21% lower among those offered housing vouchers to low-poverty neighborhoods with no restrictions compared to those not offered housing vouchers (p < 0.05).

MTO appeared to decrease intergenerational teen births among young adults. Further exploration of housing relocation may help untangle risks and protective factors for reducing intergenerational teen births.

Reducing intergenerational teen births is important, especially among those facing economic, environmental, and health risks. Comprehensive programs addressing multiple social determinants of health are vital to reducing teen births.

Fuller, T. R., Sciandra, M., Koumans, E. H., Boulet, S. L., Warner, L., Cox, S., & Gennetian, L. A. (2019). A housing mobility program's impacts on teen and young adult parenting. SSM - Population Health, 9, 100451. https://doi.org/10.1016/j.ssmph.2019.100451