Two studies out today add to the evidence base that differences in health and longevity can be as much a function of where you live as how you live or how much money you have.
A new study in the American Sociological Review indicates that when old people die during heat waves, part of the reason is their neighborhoods don’t have anyplace for them go to cool off, like a Wal-Mart or a 20-screen cineplex, and no place to go where they feel safe.
Another new study finds that black men living in one rural North Carolina community have half the “excess mortality rate” of black men in Harlem. The researchers suggest the difference is greater access to health care and stronger social connections in Pitt County, N.C., than in New York City.
We already know that people who live in poor urban areas are more obese and in poorer health than others, and, as we saw a year ago during Hurricane Katrina, you could live a healthy moral life with a decent income and still be blown away just because of where you hang your hat.