Poor neighborhoods create misfortune and ill health

Thursday, April 17th, 2014

Bad things happen in bad neighborhoods, Duke researchers have rediscovered — although they phrase it this way, Poor neighborhoods create misfortune and ill health:

The study, based on the surveys of 3,105 Chicagoans in 343 city neighborhoods, examined data on 15 life-changing events like being assaulted or robbed, getting divorced, getting into legal trouble and having a child die.

“These are major life events, different than every-day stresses,” King said. “It’s bigger than having your car towed. These are life-changes that could lead to anxiety or depression.”

The study found that residents of poorer neighborhoods who reported one or more of these life-changing events were more likely to also have serious health issues. The reasons are complex, King said. Many of the traumatic events involve exposure to risk, like burglary, legal trouble or an ill or dying child.

Other events involve a lack of resources, like a lost job or long-term illness. And when an entire neighborhood is poor, the risks are more concentrated and resources are harder to access, which is why people struggle to find a new job or get treatment for an illness, King said.

Apparently all these poor neighborhoods were built on ancient Indian burial grounds, bringing terrible luck down on their inhabitants.


  1. One way I’ve recently thought about giving these progressive theories some meat is by thinking of ‘vicious fractions’ akin to ‘smart fractions.’

    There has to be a threshold of ‘vicious’ people in any group or collection of people (whether a corporate boardroom or a corner drug gang) which would completely break down cooperation. This way, the ‘neighborhood’ with evil spirits could simply refer to the bad (say 20-30%?) that comprises of the vicious fraction, which the other people can’t get rid of without external intervention.

  2. In an age where the only way out of “evil” neighborhoods is to buy your way out, the people who would most benefit from escape, the ones who are just priced out of a way out, are the most oppressed. Legally enforced race-blindness is therefore supremely racist.

  3. Buckethead says:

    I’ve seen that threshold at work at a startup I worked at. Three vicious (in a polite, tech-corporate way) people in positions of authority in a company of less than 20 was more than enough to destroy all cooperation, trust, and faith in the future.

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