The Social and Economic Effects of Relocation Due to Highway Takings

Report No: 72-R10

Published in 1972

About the report:

Of late, in the early stages of highway planning, consideration has been given the potential non-compensable losses or social costs of relocating people displaced by highway construction. Instead of being concerned merely with the dollars and cents costs of highway construction, engineers and highway planners are now also considering the social and personal economic costs. The purpose of this study was to obtain firsthand information on the social disruption caused by the construction of selected highway projects in Virginia. Through interviews and questionnaires, information was obtained from 98 individuals who had been relocated by the Virginia Department of Highways under the provisions of the Federal Aid Highway Act of 1968. It was felt that only through firsthand information could the attitudes, feelings, and desires of those who had undergone the relocation procedure be ascertained. Of the 156 persons in the total study sample, 98 were contacted sometime within 15 months after their relocation. Twenty-nine of these agreed to personal interviews concerning their relocation, and the remaining 69 completed and returned questionnaires on the subject. It was found that only 6% of those returning questionnaires were white-collar or professional workers, over half were blue-collar workers, 19% were retired, 14.5% were housewives, 4% were students, and 4% were unemployed. The mean age of these individuals was 49, with 37% being over 60 years of age. The mean total family income was $4,900 per year, with over 53% reporting incomes of less than $5,000 per year (27% reported incomes below $3,000). The mean educational level was seventh to eighth grade. Of those responding, 56% had a ninth grade education or less and only 15% had any college training. If the above data are representative of individuals relocated in Virginia, the majority are middle-aged or elderly, have relatively low incomes, are blue-collar workers, and have attained only a junior high school level of education.

Disclaimer Statement:The contents of this report reflect the views of the author(s), who is responsible for the facts and the accuracy of the data presented herein. The contents do not necessarily reflect the official views or policies of the Virginia Department of Transportation, the Commonwealth Transportation Board, or the Federal Highway Administration. This report does not constitute a standard, specification, or regulation. Any inclusion of manufacturer names, trade names, or trademarks is for identification purposes only and is not to be considered an endorsement.


Other Authors

Michael A. Perfater

Last updated: February 8, 2024

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