Sharp income disparity in neighbourhoods linked with physical and mental health problems, says U of A social epidemiologist who found similar results in Boston and Calgary.
Newborns in U.S. counties where the gap between rich and poor is wider than average die at a higher rate than babies born in counties where the gap is more equitable, according to research by University of Alberta social epidemiologist Roman Pabayo, who adds that same inequality also exists in Canada.
“I think there are a lot of people that think of Canada as an egalitarian country, but inequalities exist. Some inequality can be seen as natural, but when there is too much, it can be harmful,” said Pabayo, newly named Canada Research Chair in Social and Health Inequities Throughout the Lifespan.
Pabayo’s research team used census data on income within a particular area to calculate the Gini coefficient, the most commonly used measurement of income inequality. For the Canadian portion, he chose neighbourhoods in Calgary.