Posts tagged with "Location"

Live long and prosper: Moving to the city helps seniors increase their longevity

September 3, 2021

Living longer in your senior years may be all about one thing—location, location, location. A new study finds that moving to a busy urban area can increase longevity among older adults, reports Study Finds.

While many retirees tend to leave big cities for a quieter life and warmer weather, researchers from MIT say heading to many coastal metropolises —such as,New York City, San Francisco, and Miami — actually adds an extra year to their lives.

Specifically, the study finds adults over 65 who move from a metro area in the 10th percentile (in terms of how much they enhance longevity) to an area in the 90th percentile adds 1.1 years to their lives. Currently, the average lifespan for an adult in the United States  is 83.3 years.

“There’s a substantively important causal effect of where you live as an elderly adult on mortality and life expectancy across the United States,” says Amy Finkelstein, a professor in MIT’s Department of Economics in a university release.

While a region’s “health capital”—or the local population’s tendency to be obese, smoke, or suffer from other health problems—plays a major role in health, study authors also looked at the environmental factors of metro areas. Entering the study, the team suspected that the nature of available medical care in urban areas becomes a key factor in how long older adults live. Other possible drivers include climate, pollution, crime, and traffic safety.
“We wanted to separate out the role of people’s prior experiences and behaviors—or health capital—from the role of place or environment,” Finkelstein notes.

Researchers looked at the Medicare records of 6.3 million beneficiaries from 65 to 99 years-old between 1999 and 2014. Around two million of these Americans moved from one U.S. “commuting zone” to another during the study. The rest did not move during that 15-year period.

“The idea is to take two elderly people from a given origin, say, Boston. One moves to low-mortality Minneapolis, one moves to high-mortality Houston. We then compare how long each lives after they move,” Finkelstein explains.

Although different people have different health histories, study authors say

Medicare records include detailed claims data—which enabled the team to account for 27 different illnesses and conditions. These ranged from lung cancer to diabetes to depression. In the end, researchers used the data to create a standard mortality risk model to examine how changing cities later in life leads to either a drop or rise in longevity.

The results show that many urban areas on the East and West Coasts of the United States have a positive impact on longevity for seniors who move there. Some Midwestern cities like Chicago also appear to give seniors a boost.

On the other hand, much of the deep South negatively impacts the lifespans of older adults. This includes states like Alabama, Arkansas, Louisiana, and northern Florida. The American Southwest, including areas in Texas, Oklahoma, New Mexico, and Arizona, also scored poorly in the MIT study.

While the team estimates that “health capital” accounts for about 70% of the differences in longevity around the country, the new findings show that 15% of these differences depend on where you live.

However, Study Finds notes, while some major cities clearly push health in one direction or another, other areas around America are harder to gauge. In some cities, like Charlotte, North Carolina, researchers discovered that moving here has a positive effect on longevity, but residents still have a lower overall life expectancy. Conversely, in Santa Fe, New Mexico, people moving here have a higher overall life expectancy, but the study finds the city has a below-average effect on the longevity.

“Our [hard] evidence is about the role of place,” Finkelstein says. “We know something about Charlotte, North Carolina, makes a difference, but we don’t yet know what.”

“Differences in health care across places are large and potentially important,” Finkelstein concludes. “But there are also differences in pollution, weather, [and] other aspects. … What we need to do now is get inside the black box of ‘the place’ and figure out what it is about them that matters for longevity.”

The study appears in the journal, American Economic Review.

Research contact: @StudyFinds

America’s meanest streets

March 13, 2018

Monroe, Louisiana, is the most dangerous city in the United States, according to a report released by the website, NeighborhoodScout, on March 6.

Filling out the rest of the top ten (from most dicey to least) for this year are Bessemer, Alabama; East St. Louis, Illinois; Camden, New Jersey, Detroit, Michigan, St. Louis, Missouri; Wilmington, Delaware, Alexandria, Louisiana; Memphis, Tennessee; and West Memphis, Arkansas.

The list of the top 100 most dangerous American cities compares the safety of municipalities with populations of 25,000 or more, based on the number of violent crimes (murder, rape, armed robbery and aggravated assault) reported to the FBI to have occurred in each city, and the population of each city, divided by 1,000. This calculation provides a rate for violent crime per 1,000 residents—offering an accurate, normalized comparison of cities of different sizes.

Monroe is representative of a number of communities on the list: It is a medium-size city (population: 49,297) located about 100 miles away from two larger cities—Shreveport (population 194,920) to the west; and Jackson (population 169,148) to the east.

Compared to the rest of the nation, Monroe is lower-middle-income and has a high number of people living in poverty. The lack of a large business and economic center within decent commuting distance means that residents have difficulty finding well-paying jobs.

These factors contribute to the city’s above-average housing vacancy rate and low public school quality indices—which, in-turn, reduce economic activity and can make it challenging for a community to attract jobs that require high skills and pay good salaries. A similar scenario plays out in Chester, PennsylvaniaHomestead, Florida, and other medium-size communities nationwide.

“We continue to see a number of smaller, industrial-satellite communities struggle with crime,” said Dr.Andrew Schiller, CEO and Founder of Location, the parent company of  NeighborhoodScout. “Limited economic opportunity plays a role in such communities and highlights the divide between the safe bedroom communities within large metro areas near major urban centers like Boston, Chicago and New York, and the high-crime industrial-satellite communities.”

Research contact: 191356@email4pr.com