Neighborhood residents with lowest incomes most likely to care about their communities

July 2, 2013

Some may assume that low-income residents of run-down, crime-ridden neighborhoods do not care about their communities. However, research from the University of Missouri suggests otherwise.

Mansoo Yu, an assistant professor of and public health at MU, studied levels of community care and vigilance among residents living in high-crime, low-income areas. Community care and vigilance refer to individuals' to improve their communities, to take pride in their neighborhoods and to monitor and report unwelcome happenings, such as crimes, near their homes.

"We hypothesized that individuals with higher incomes would have higher levels of community care and , but the opposite was true," Yu said. "Residents with lower incomes were more likely to care about their communities than their higher-earning neighbors."

Yu said he and his colleagues were somewhat surprised by the findings that lower-income residents cared more about their communities.

"One possibility is that, because these individuals had such low incomes, they were more likely to stay in the same area for a long time," Yu said. "Low-income residents might lack the resources to move to other communities, whereas their neighbors with relatively higher incomes might be more able to move to better neighborhoods with safer environments."

Yu said community workers and organizers as well as public health professionals should find ways for residents to develop pride in their neighborhoods and encourage them to take actions, such as volunteering, to improve their communities.

"Healthy local environments are related to overall well-being and good mental and ," Yu said. "Individuals tend to feel safer in their local communities when they have low levels of depression and high levels of self-esteem. More work is needed to improve low- areas into healthy environments so individuals' well-beings can improve."

Explore further: Asian neighborhoods: Separate but equal

More information: The study, "Which Factor has More Impact? An Examination of the Effects of Income Level, Perceived Neighborhood Disorder, and Crime on Community Care and Vigilance Among Low-Income African American Residents," was published in Race and Social Problems.

Related Stories

Asian neighborhoods: Separate but equal

June 26, 2013

Asians – recently found to be the fastest growing minority group in the U.S. – have been described as the least segregated minority group in the U.S. In fact, Chinese and Indians are segregated almost as highly as Hispanics, ...

Park amenities differ according to income of neighborhoods

March 21, 2013

Every community in America has its share of parks. However, park amenities in certain communities can be lacking, which can be detrimental to the health of potential patrons. Now, a University of Missouri researcher has found ...

Recommended for you

Experts uncover hidden layers of Jesus' tomb site

October 27, 2016

In the innermost chamber of the site said to be the tomb of Jesus, a restoration team has peeled away a marble layer for the first time in centuries in an effort to reach what it believes is the original rock surface where ...

Important ancient papyrus seized from looters in Israel

October 27, 2016

(—Eitan Klein, a representative of the Israel Antiquities Authority, has announced that an important papyrus document dated to 2,700 years ago has been seized from a group of Palestinian looters who reportedly ...

Ancient parrot fossil found in Siberia

October 26, 2016

(—A Russian paleontologist has discovered a parrot fossil uncovered in Siberia several years ago—the first evidence of parrots living in Asia. In his paper published in Biology Letters, Nikita Zelenkov describes ...


Please sign in to add a comment. Registration is free, and takes less than a minute. Read more

Click here to reset your password.
Sign in to get notified via email when new comments are made.