Volume 55 | Number 3 | June 2020

Abstract List

Linda Diem Tran PhD, MPP, Thomas H. Rice PhD, Paul M. Ong PhD, Sudipto Banerjee PhD, Julia Liou MPH, Ninez A. Ponce Ph.D., M.P.P.


To estimate the net effect of living in a gentrified neighborhood on probability of having serious psychological distress.

Data Sources

We pooled 5 years of secondary data from the California Health Interview Survey (2011‐2015) and focused on southern California residents.

Study Design

We compared adults (n = 43 815) living in low‐income and gentrified, low‐income and not gentrified, middle‐ to high‐income and upscaled, and middle‐ to high‐income and not upscaled neighborhoods. We performed a probit regression to test whether living in a gentrified neighborhood increased residents' probabilities of having serious psychological distress in the past year and stratified analyses by neighborhood tenure, homeownership status, and low‐income status. Instrumental variables estimation and propensity scores were applied to reduce bias arising from residential selection and simultaneity. An endogenous treatment effects model was also applied in sensitivity analyses.

Data Collection/Extraction Methods

Adults who completed the survey on their own and lived in urban neighborhoods with 500 or more residents were selected for analyses. Survey respondents who scored 13 and above on the Kessler 6 were categorized as having serious psychological distress in the past year. We used eight neighborhood change measures to classify respondents' neighborhoods.

Principal Findings

Living in a gentrified and upscaled neighborhood was associated with increased likelihood of serious psychological distress relative to living in a low‐income and not gentrified neighborhood. The average treatment effect was 0.0141 (standard error = 0.007), which indicates that the prevalence of serious psychological distress would have been 1.4 percentage points less if none of the respondents lived in gentrified neighborhoods. Gentrification appears to have a negative impact on the mental health of renters, low‐income residents, and long‐term residents. This effect was not observed among homeowners, higher‐income residents, and recent residents.


Gentrification levies mental health costs on financially vulnerable community members and can worsen mental health inequities.