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Cleveland Fed – Gentrification and Financial Health

Economic Trends: Gentrification and Financial Health, by Daniel Hartley, November 6, 2013.

“Gentrification is a form of neighborhood change. While it does not have a precise definition, it is commonly associated with an increase in income, rising home prices or rents, and sometimes with changes in the occupational mix and educational level of neighborhood residents. Gentrification is sometimes viewed as a bad thing. People claim that it is detrimental to the original residents of the gentrifying neighborhood. However, a look at the data suggests that gentrification is actually beneficial to the financial health of the original residents. From a financial perspective, it is better to be a resident of a low-price neighborhood that is gentrifying than one that is not. This is true whether residents of the gentrifying neighborhood own homes or do not and whether or not they move out of the neighborhood. This is interesting because one might expect renters to be hurt more by gentrification, and one might also be concerned that people who moved out of the neighborhood did so because they were financially strained. In this article I consider a measure of gentrification based on neighborhood home values, and examine how this measure correlates with changes in credit scores and debt delinquency measures in gentrifying neighborhoods.”

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