How much is ‘social health’ to blame for gun violence? Study shows shootings are more likely in poorer neighborhoods where men live alone, there’s distrust the government and where the wealth gap is the greatest
- Researchers at Northeastern University analyzed data on homicides from 2015
- They broke down how ‘social determinants of health’ contribute to homicide risks in counties and neighborhoods in the US
- Social determinants include socioeconomic mobility, wealth gaps and poverty – all of which influence health, behavior and stress
- In poor neighborhoods, gun homicides were 26-27 percent more common
- Neighborhoods where many men live alone had 12 percent higher rates
- Where people were able to move up the social ladder, there were 25 percent fewer homicides in 2015
Although politicians still regularly blame gun violence on mental illness, that theory is largely rejected by public health authorities, and a new study breaks down the ‘social determinants of health’ that raise or reduce risks for homicides.
Just as diseases vary from one population to the next, gun violence is more common in some areas and groups than in others, meaning the factors that shape our lives also shape the risks of a shooting.
Researchers at Northeastern University found that wealth gaps, distrust of institutions, poverty and how much a government spends on the good of a neighborhood are all linked to its gun violence rates.
Working out if these associations are in fact causes for gun violence could help to stem the gun violence ‘epidemic’ and its diminishing effect on the average American lifespan.