Housing, location and employment
Unemployed people tend to move to areas of better employment opportunities and thereby increase their likelihood of leaving income support. Private renters are most likely to make such a move, followed by public renters, and home owners least likely.
Project Number: 70065
Research Theme(s): Economics and modelling
Project Leader: Randolph, Bill
Funding Year: 2001
Research Centre: UNSW-UWS
Do housing markets and housing policies provide incentives for people to live in areas of low employment? Does living in such an area directly impede employment prospects? This project examined these questions focusing on working age income support recipients and other members of the low-income population across Australia. The project had the following two objectives: To describe the role of housing markets and housing policies in influencing the locational choice and geographic mobility of income support recipients and other low-income groups. To analyse the relationship between housing location and employment opportunities, using statistical methods to identify the direct impact of location upon outcomes. These research questions are relevant to policy decisions about the location of public housing, planning regulations, geographical aspects of housing assistance as well as a wider range of policies directed at people in different tenures and locations. The study was based on the analysis of several existing data sets. The FaCS Longitudinal Data Set (LDS) would be used to examine the role of housing markets and policies on the geographic mobility of income support clients, and the effect of residential mobility on employment outcomes. It would be supplemented by Census mobility data for the broader low-income population. Using these data sets, causal models describing mobility as a function of locational characteristics (in both housing and labour markets) and individual factors (including housing tenure), and employment outcomes in relation to location and individual characteristics would be developed. Whilst the association between location and employment outcomes is well established, the causal relationships underlying this are not. Existing research does not identify whether it is the characteristics of the locality that influences employment outcomes, or whether it is simply that people with poor labour market prospects can only afford to live in certain regions. This study aimed to use the longitudinal data in the LDS to separate these relationships, focusing on the labour market outcomes of people who move between localities. This was then supplemented by an analysis of the Census data examining the resources needed to undertake employment in different localities.