Prioritizing Choice: Perceptions of Neighborhood Social Cohesion for Residents in Subsidized Housing

Daniel Brisson, Stephanie Pena, Mark Plassmeyer

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

3 Scopus citations


Many families living in poverty rely on housing subsidies. Housing subsidies restrict the housing stock and neighborhood choices for families living in poverty. Fortunately neighborhood social cohesion can protect families from many of the deleterious consequences associated with living in a low-income neighborhood. This study uses panel data from the Annie E. Casey Foundation's Making Connections initiative to test the role of public housing types on perceptions of neighborhood social cohesion. The probability sample used in the study consists of 2,470 households living in low-income neighborhoods in ten cities in the United States. Results show that public housing residents, both housing choice voucher users and non-housing choice voucher users, on average, report lower neighborhood social cohesion than their non-public housing neighbors. Results also show that moving to a new neighborhood consistently predicts improved neighborhood social cohesion while moving to public housing predicts declines in perceived neighborhood social cohesion. Choice in where one lives seems to play an important and positive role in perceptions of neighborhood social cohesion. Based on these data, it is suggested that policy makers and housing providers prioritize choice in the development and delivery of public housing.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)267-278
Number of pages12
JournalJournal of Social Service Research
Issue number3
StatePublished - May 27 2018


  • Social cohesion
  • housing choice vouchers
  • housing mobility
  • low-income
  • neighborhoods
  • public housing

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Social Sciences (miscellaneous)
  • Sociology and Political Science


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