Moving to Health or Avoiding Equality? Place-Based Stigma in the Structuring Spatial Health Inequality

Michael D. M. Bader, American University

Methodological concerns regarding the identification of neighborhood causal effects dominates research on neighborhood spatial health inequality. I contend that the myopic focus on these methodological concerns curtails the theoretical development into the nature of spatial health inequality by attempting to control away, rather than provide an account of, the process of residential mobility that differentially sorts residents by their health risk. In this paper, I use unique data from the 2004-5 Chicago Area Study that links individual-level health status with residential preferences for actual communities in a major city to study patterns of residential preferences. Combining these data with health assessments from residents already living in the queried communities using the 2002 Chicago Community Adult Health Study, I examine how much health composition of current residents influences health preferences.I argue population-level *avoidance* from stigmatized places marked by unhealthy and racial composition rather than individual-level selection structure spatial health inequality.

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Presented in Session 204: Neighborhood Effects on Education, Health, and Economic Mobility