Has falling crime invited gentrification?

Ingrid Gould Ellen, Keren Mertens Horn, Davin Reed

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review


Since the early 1990s, central city crime has fallen dramatically in the United States. We explore the extent to which this trend may have contributed to gentrification. Using confidential census microdata, we show that reductions in central city violent crime are associated with increases in the probability that high-income and college-educated households move into central city neighborhoods, including low-income neighborhoods, instead of the suburbs. We then use neighborhood-level crime and home purchase data for five major U.S. cities and find that falling neighborhood crime is associated with increasing numbers and shares of high-income movers choosing low-income central city neighborhoods.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Article number101636
JournalJournal of Housing Economics
StatePublished - Dec 2019


  • Crime
  • Gentrification
  • Neighborhood choice

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Economics and Econometrics


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