Safe Neighborhoods are inviting to community residents. They include safe places to be active, well-lit walkways and streets, encourage interaction among residents, and have robust economic activity.
Safe Neighborhoods & Latino Health
Safe Neighborhoods allow communities to flourish. In neighborhoods where residents feel safe, they are more likely to exercise outdoors, interact with neighbors, and access local services in the community. Feelings of security contribute to reduced rates of chronic disease, and also help to reduce violence by generating community awareness and ownership.
Neighbourhood Socioeconomic Status and Biological “Wear & Tear” in a Nationally Representative Sample of US Adults
Despite decades of research on socioeconomic status (SES) gradients in health, the underlying causes remain only partially understood. Place, or where one lives, has been proposed as contributing to such health disparities, beyond individual socioeconomic characteristics. Multiple studies have documented independent effects of place on overall health and mortality, using data from nationally-representative surveys. Yet few studies have examined how these effects get under the skin.
Just as conditions within our homes have important implications for our health, conditions in the neighborhoods surrounding our homes also can have major health effects. Social and economic features of neighborhoods have been linked with mortality, general health status, disability, birth outcomes, chronic conditions, health behaviors and other risk factors for chronic disease, as well as with mental health, injuries, violence and other important health indicators.
Features of neighborhoods or residential environments may affect health and contribute to social and race/ethnic inequalities in health. The study of neighborhood health effects has grown exponentially over the past 15 years. This chapter summarizes key work in this area with a particular focus on chronic disease outcomes (speciﬁcally obesity and related risk factors) and mental health (speciﬁcally depression and depressive symptoms). Empirical work is classiﬁed into two main eras: studies that use census proxies and studies that directly measure neighborhood attributes using a variety of approaches. Key conceptual and methodological challenges in studying neighborhood health effects are reviewed. Existing gaps in knowledge and promising new directions in the ﬁeld are highlighted.