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Inequality, residential segregation by income, and mortality in US cities
  1. P Lobmayer1,
  2. R G Wilkinson2
  1. 1Institute of Public Health, Semmelweis University of Medicine, Budapest, Hungary
  2. 2Division of Public Health Sciences, University of Nottingham Medical School and International Centre for Health and Society, University College London, UK
  1. Correspondence to:
 Professor R G Wilkinson, Division of Public Health Sciences, University of Nottingham Medical School, Nottingham NG7 2UH, UK;


Study objective: This study was designed to discover whether the relation between income inequality and population death rates within the United States was mediated by the degree of residential segregation between rich and poor.

Design: Using data for 276 metropolitan areas in the USA, residential segregation was defined as the extent to which people with different levels of income live in the same or different census tracts. Two segregation measures were used: the ratio of income inequality between household within tracts to the inequality in average income between tracts, and the Jargowsky Neighbourhood Sorting Index.

Main results: Results suggest that segregation within urban areas is associated with an additional mortality burden. However, the association between income inequality and mortality in these metropolitan statistical areas was found to be independent of the degree of economic segregation between their constituent neighbourhoods.

Conclusions: Most of the association between income inequality and mortality is not mediated by the effects of greater residential segregation.

  • income inequality
  • segregation
  • mortality
  • PYLL, potential years of life lost
  • MSA, Metropolitan Statistical Area
  • WTI, within tract income inequality
  • BTI, between tract inequality
  • JI, Jangowsky Index

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