Stefanie A. Deluca

Associate Professor

By Appointment Only
Curriculum Vitae


Before settling in Charm City for a position in sociology at Johns Hopkins, I spent all of my life in the Windy City. My undergraduate work was done at the University of Chicago (AB'97), where I studied psychology and sociology, and I completed my Ph.D. in Human Development and Social Policy at Northwestern University in 2002.

I am interested in the way social context (e.g. family, school, neighborhood, peers) affects the outcomes of disadvantaged young people, primarily in adolescence and at the transition to adulthood. Using interdisciplinary frameworks and multiple methodologies to examine these issues, my current research focuses on the sociology of education, urban sociology, neighborhoods and social inequality in the life course. My research also involves the sociological consideration of education and housing policy. I am motivated by an interest in rigorous research designs for causal inference using both experimental and non-experimental data, as well as the use of qualitative work to understand causality and the effectiveness of social policies. My research has been made possible by generous support from the Annie E. Casey Foundation, Abell Foundation, Spencer Foundation, National Academy of Education, William T. Grant Foundation, Center for Research on Educational Opportunity at the University of Notre Dame, American Educational Research Association, the National Science Foundation and the Department of Education.

One major area of research has focused on the determinants of educational attainment, such as social class, high school courses, noncognitive skills and the timing of educational investments. In a project funded by the Department of Education, we examined the state of vocational education, in light of legislation passed in the 1990s intended to reform vocational training into “career and technical education”. In a recent Sociology of Education article, we move beyond traditional research on curricular tracking and show how a balance of academic and career preparation courses might reduce high school dropout. We suggest that the ‘new’ vocational education has potential to keep youth in school by engaging them with courses relevant for both work and college. In a recent Social Forces piece, we tested whether being a “day late” is worse than being “a dollar short” in terms of college enrollment. Even in an era of community college expansion, proprietary schools and evening programs, we found that it matters when you enroll in college; after accounting for socioeconomic, life course and institutional factors, youth who delay college significantly reduce their chances of attaining a bachelor’s degree, even within eight years. I have also been pursuing research that considers the role of noncognitive skills (e.g. motivation, self-discipline, risk taking), how patterns of noncognitive skills vary by levels of cognitive skills, and how different combinations of cognitive and noncognitive skills predict educational, occupational and delinquent pathways into adulthood.

An additional program of research examines transitions to work for young people who do not attend college, and more generally to question whether promoting college attendance for all is the best policy for students in America. A recent paper with Robert Bozick suggests heterogeneity in the motives of non-enrolled youth; these motives are partly driven by planful orientations toward work, economic resources and local labor market opportunities. Other papers in progress considers the transition to work and college for African American youth growing up in Baltimore. In a number of papers, I am considering the role of career education, trade schools and communities colleges in the employment and postsecondary pathways of these urban youth.

Understanding the role of housing, neighborhood and social context on youth and family outcomes. For the last fourteen years, I have studied the long-term effects of the Gautreaux residential mobility program in Chicago, which helped residents of public housing relocate to safer neighborhoods through housing vouchers. With colleagues, I assessed the impacts of changes in neighborhood quality on child and family outcomes such as welfare use, employment, special education, and subsequent mobility. Federal interest in the Gautreaux program led to the design and implementation of the Moving To Opportunity program in the 1990s, a randomized housing voucher experiment funded by HUD. In 2003-2004, I conducted interviews with mothers and teenagers from the Baltimore site of this MTO program, as well as teacher interviews and classroom observations for the younger children in those families. In 2010, my team (with Kathryn Edin and Susan Clampet-Lundquist) conducted fieldwork with 150 of the children of the Baltimore MTO site as they became young adults, and we are currently working on a book about their pathways into adulthood. In 2006, I was hired by the Maryland ACLU to give expert witness testimony in a housing desegregation case (Thompson v HUD) very similar to the Gautreaux case in Chicago. Eligible families receive vouchers to move to communities that are less than 10% poor, less than 30% African American and have less than 5% of households receiving subsidized housing. I am currently following the relocation of these public housing residents to more advantaged neighborhoods in the metro area, with attention to how these moves create educational opportunities for their children.

Based on my experience studying these mobility programs, I have become interested in not only the ‘effects’ of environmental change, but also how families select into and move between neighborhoods. In 2008, I won a William T. Grant Foundation Scholars award that has given me the opportunity to map out detailed patterns of youth residential mobility and how mobility relates to changes in family, school, and neighborhood context. I am examining how housing interventions affect the mobility of poor families, and how mobility affects adolescent educational attainment, delinquency and health, once family, school and neighborhood contexts are considered. I use national data, as well as data from the multi-city MTO experiment. Another major contribution of this work is the use of a panel study of youth in disadvantaged communities in Mobile, Alabama—a region of the country often overlooked by urban sociologists. The research design includes advanced statistical techniques to infer causality from observational data, and quasi-experimental analyses using exogenous events that affect mobility. Since 2009, I have also been carrying out fieldwork with 100 families in Mobile, following their residential relocations, neighborhood choice, family dynamics and how these families use moving as a strategy for youth well being.

Current Funding

2012-2013. The Annie E. Casey Foundation. “How Parents House Kids: Residential Decisions, Financial Tradeoffs and Parenting Among Low to Moderate Income Families with Young Children”. (Co-PI with Kathryn Edin) ($250,000)

2012-2014. Abell Foundation. “Connecting Housing and Education Policy: Examining Educational Outcomes for the Children of the Baltimore Mobility Program”. ($197,000)

2011-2013. National Science Foundation. “Creating School Choice through Housing Choice: How Increased Housing Opportunity Affects Educational Access for Poor Children.” ($220,000)

2011-2012. Abell Foundation. "Do Place-Based Policy INterventions Increase Neighborhood Opportunity? The Case of Sandtown-Winchester in Baltimore." ($34,602)

2010-2012. William T. Grant Foundation Major Grant. “Low-Income Youth, Neighborhoods, and Housing Mobility in Baltimore” (with Kathryn Edin and Susan Clampet-Lundquist). ($460,938)

2008-2013. William T. Grant Foundation Faculty Scholars Award. "Moving Matters: Residential Mobility, Neighborhoods and Family in the Lives of Poor Adolescents." ($350,000)

230.310 Becoming An Adult: Life Course Perspectives on School, Work and Family Transition
230.313 Space, Place, Poverty & Race: Sociological Perspectives on Neighborhoods and Public Housing
230.320 Education and Inequality: Individual Contextual, and Policy Perspectives
230.601 Research Design (doctoral students)
230.640 Field Methods for Studying Urban Poverty
230.641 Urban Youth and Inequality
360.357 Baltimore as an Urban Laboratory (Social Policy)

DeLuca, Stefanie. 2012. “What is the Role of Housing Policy? Considering Choice and Social Science Evidence.” Journal of Urban Affairs 34: 21-28.

DeLuca, Stefanie, Greg Duncan, Ruby Mendenhall and Micere Keels. Forthcoming, 2011. “The Notable and the Null: Using Mixed Methods to Understand the Diverse Impacts of Residential Mobility Programs.” in Maarten Van Ham (Ed.), Neighborhood Effects: New Perspectives. Dordrecht: Springer.

Gasper, Joseph, Stefanie DeLuca and Angela Estacion. Forthcoming. “Switching High Schools: Reconsidering the Relationship between School Mobility and Dropout” American Educational Research Journal.

Bozick, Robert and Stefanie DeLuca. 2011. “Not Making the Transition to College: School, Work, and Opportunities in the Lives of American Youth.” Social Science Research 40: 1249-1262.

Deil-Amen, Regina and Stefanie DeLuca. 2010. "The Underserved Third: How Our Educational Structures Populate an Educational Underclass." Journal of Education for Students Placed at Risk 15:27-50

DeLuca, Stefanie and Peter Rosenblatt. Forthcoming, 2010. “Does Moving To Better Neighborhoods Lead to Better Schooling Opportunities? Parental School Choice in an Experimental Housing Voucher Program.” Teachers College Record.

Gasper, Joseph, Stefanie DeLuca and Angela Estacion. In press. "Coming and Going: The Effects of Residential and School Mobility on Delinquency." Social Science Research. (available online as of 10/09)

DeLuca, Stefanie and Elizabeth Dayton. 2009. “Switching Social Contexts: The Effects of Housing Mobility and School Choice Programs on Youth Outcomes.” Annual Review of Sociology, Vol. 35.

DeLuca, Stefanie, Greg Duncan, Ruby Mendenhall and Micere Keels. Forthcoming, 2010. “Gautreaux Mothers and Their Children: An Update.” Housing Policy Debate 20: 7-25

Plank, Stephen, Stefanie DeLuca and Angela Estacion. 2008. “High School Dropout and the Role of Career and Technical Education: A Survival Analysis of Surviving High School.” Sociology of Education, 81: 347-370.

Rosenbaum, James E. and Stefanie DeLuca. 2008. “Does Changing Neighborhoods Change Lives? The Chicago Gautreaux Housing Program.” In David Grusky (Ed.), Social Stratification: Race, Class and Gender in Sociological Perspective. Westview Press. Pp. 393-399.

DeLuca, Stefanie. 2007. “All Over the Map: Explaining Educational Outcomes in the Moving to Opportunity Program.” Education Next Fall Issue: 29-36.

DeLuca, Stefanie and Robert Bozick. 2005. "Better Late Than Never? Delayed Enrollment in the High School to College Transition." Social Forces 84: 528-550.

Rosenbaum, James E., Stefanie DeLuca and Tammy Tuck. 2005. "Crossing Borders and Adapting: How Low-Income Black Families Acquire New Capabilities in Suburban Neighborhoods." In Xavier de Souza Briggs (Ed.), Metro Dilemma: Race, Housing Choice and Opportunity in America. Brookings Institution. Pp 150-175

Mendenhall, Ruby, Stefanie DeLuca and Greg Duncan. 2006. “Neighborhood Resources and Economic Mobility: Results from the Gautreaux Program” Social Science Research 35:892-923.

Keels, Micere*, Greg J. Duncan, Stefanie DeLuca, Ruby Mendenhall*, and James E. Rosenbaum. 2005. “Fifteen Years Later: Can Residential Mobility Programs Provide a Permanent Escape from Neighborhood Crime and Poverty?” Demography 42 (1): 51-73.

DeLuca, Stefanie and James E. Rosenbaum. 2003. "Do Blacks Prefer Integrated Neighborhoods? Testing Survey Opinions with Quasi-Experimental Residential Mobility Data." Housing Policy Debate, 14: 305-346.

Rosenbaum, James E., Lisa Reynolds and Stefanie DeLuca. 2002. "How Do Places Matter? The Geography of Opportunity, Self-Efficacy, and a Look Inside the Black Box of Residential Mobility." Housing Studies, 17:71-82.

DeLuca, Stefanie and James E. Rosenbaum. 2001. "Individual Agency and the Life Course: Do Low SES Students Get Less Long-Term Pay-Off For Their School Efforts?" Sociological Focus , 34, 357-376.

Rosenbaum, James E. and Stefanie DeLuca. 2000. “Is Housing Mobility the Key to Welfare Reform? Lessons from Chicago’s Gautreaux Program.” Brookings Institution Center on Urban and Metropolitan Policy Survey Series.

Rosenbaum, James E., Stefanie DeLuca, Shazia R. Miller, and Kevin Roy. 1999. "Pathways into Work: Short and Long Term Effects of Personal and Institutional Ties." Sociology of Education , 72, 179-196.

Policy Articles and Reports

DeLuca, Stefanie and Peter Rosenblatt. 2011. “Increasing Access to High Performing Schools in an Assisted Housing Voucher Program.” From the Poverty and Race Research Action Council Report, Finding Common Ground: Coordinating Housing and Education Policy to Support Racial and Economic Integration.

DeLuca, Stefanie. 2008. “Neighborhood Matters: Do Housing Vouchers Work?” Boston Review, January/February Issue.

DeLuca, Stefanie, Stephen Plank* and Angela Estacion. 2006. Does Career and Technical Education Affect College Enrollment? St. Paul, MN: National Research Center for Career and Technical Education.

Working Papers

DeLuca, Stefanie. “What “Counts” As Hard Work? Comparing Teacher and Student Reports of Student Effort.”

DeLuca, Stefanie and Peter Rosenblatt. “Changing Neighborhoods, Changing Opportunities: A First Look at Participant Outcomes in Baltimore’s Thompson Housing Mobility Program.”

DeLuca, Stefanie and Peter Rosenblatt. “Walking Away from The Wire: Neighborhood Change in Baltimore’s Thompson Housing Mobility Program.”

DeLuca, Stefanie and Caren Arbeit. “Reconsidering the Role of Vocational Education: Stratification and Student Pathways.”

DeLuca, Stefanie, Anna Rhodes and Robert Bozick. “Mind the Gap (Year): College Delay, Time Use and Postsecondary Pathways.”

DeLuca, Stefanie, Barbara Condliffe and Siri Warkentien."Shaken Up? Family, Residential and School Instability Among Poor Youth."

DeLuca, Stefanie, Peter Rosenblatt and Holly Wood. “Why Poor People Move (and Where They Go): Residential Mobility, Selection and Stratification.”

Rosenblatt, Peter and Stefanie DeLuca. “We Don’t Live Outside, We Live in Here”: Neighborhoods and Residential Mobility Decisions in Low-income Families.”

Dayton, Elizabeth and Stefanie DeLuca. “Necessary and Sufficient Conditions for Educational Success: Testing Coleman’s Theories of Social Capital.”