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The Boston Globe

Health & wellness

Massive housing experiment finds those who moved to less-impoverished neighborhoods were happier

In the mid-1990s, thousands of families living in public housing, including nearly 700 adults from some of Boston’s poorest neighborhoods, took part in a federal housing voucher program designed to test whether moving families to a less impoverished place would improve their lives.

The bold social experiment, called Moving to Opportunity , was intended to subject public policy to the same kind of trial that is the gold standard in medicine. Now, a new analysis by a team of top social scientists suggests that while the $80 million program didn’t lift people out of poverty, it had a profound and measurable effect on their happiness.

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