Health Discrimination Based on Place, Not Race

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.

3 COMMENTS

  1. I don’t know the APA position, or whether it or anyone else has a position.

    I certainly am not suggesting race and income are not factors, but there is tantalizing evidence that the two combine to create a third factor of urban geography.

    Ira R. Allen
    Vice President, Public Affairs
    Center for the Advancement of Health
    http://www.cfah.org

  2. Dr. Eugene Jacquescoley
    AAAS Member
    APHA Member
    GSA Member
    ACHE Member

    Ira,

    What does the American Psychological Association (APA) have to say about these particular subject matters?

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