Low-income residents of poor neighborhoods experienced increased health when they moved to a better neighborhood, according to a study from the U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development. More families may jump into moving trucks
and head to well-off neighborhoods with better food options, safer environments, a focus on crime prevention, and better and safer public areas.
The study tracked residents of low-income housing in Los Angeles, Baltimore, Chicago, New York and Boston. From 1994 to 1998, researchers divided nearly 4,500 women with children into three study groups: a group that received a voucher to pay for a portion of rent if they moved to an area with a poverty level of 10 percent or less; another that received vouchers to subsidize housing in any neighborhood; and a third that served as the control group.
Ten to 15 years later, the women in the first group had obesity and diabetes rates about 19 percent and 22 percent lower than the others, respectively.
"This study proves that concentrated poverty is not only bad policy, it’s bad for your health,” said HUD Secretary Shaun Donovan. "Far too often, we can predict a family’s overall health, even their life expectancy, by knowing their ZIP code."
The U.S. poverty rate jumped 1 percent from 2009 to 15.3 percent in 2010, according to the American Community Surveys. Thirty-two states experienced an increase, and for 20 of those, it was the second consecutive annual increase.