Health and residential location

Research output: Chapter in Book/Report/Conference proceedingChapter

4 Scopus citations


Residents of poor neighborhoods are in worse health' on average' than residents of richer neighborhoods. In order to know whether improving the physical environment in a neighborhood will make people better off' it is first necessary to know whether the relationship between place and outcomes is causal. Residents of poor neighborhoods have many characteristics that are associated with worse health on average' such as lower incomes. And if neighborhoods do literally make people sick' then we need to know which aspects of the neighborhood are at fault. This essay provides a selective overview of the literature on residential location and health' highlighting work that seeks to identify causal relationships. The first section provides a brief framework for thinking about the "production" of health. The remaining sections discuss the possible mechanisms that underlie the relationship between residential location and health. These mechanisms include the disease environment' the relationship between location and socioeconomic status' the effects of pollution' the effects of neighborhoods on obesity' the effects of crime' and the effects of stressful environments.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Title of host publicationNeighborhood and Life Chances
Subtitle of host publicationHow Place Matters in Modern America
PublisherUniversity of Pennsylvania Press
Number of pages15
ISBN (Print)9780812242584
StatePublished - 2010
Externally publishedYes

All Science Journal Classification (ASJC) codes

  • General Social Sciences


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