• Article

Community-Level Socioeconomic Status Effects on Adult Health

Do the socioeconomic characteristics of a community affect one's health? This research examines whether the socioeconomic characteristics of communities are associated with the health of community residents, over and above the socio-economic characteristics of individual residents and their families. This is the first study to examine the independent associations between community-level socio-economic status (SES) and individual-level health using a nationally representative sample of adults in the United States. Results indicate that a person's health is associated with SES characteristics of the community over and above one's own income, education, and assets. However, individual-level and family-level SES indicators are stronger predictors of health than community-level SES indicators. This research suggests that improving individual-level and family-level socioeconomic circumstances may be the more direct way to improve the health of individuals, but that understanding the community context in which a person lives may also ultimately be important to improving health


Robert, SA. (1998). Community-Level Socioeconomic Status Effects on Adult Health. Journal of Health and Social Behavior, 39(1), 18-37.