Children and their caregivers in ‘low-opportunity neighborhoods’ face increased risk of early death

April 7, 2023—Children in low-opportunity neighborhoods—where employment options are few, transportation is unreliable, and crime and poverty rates are high—face an increased risk of premature death and of experiencing the premature death of a caregiver, according to a new study led by Harvard T.H. Chan School of Public Health.

The study, published March 22 in Pediatrics, was co-authored by Natalie Slopen and Jack Shonkoff, both faculty in the Department of Social and Behavioral Sciences.

The researchers assessed neighborhood opportunity using the Childhood Opportunity Index 2.0, a tool that measures the quality of neighborhoods based on 29 indicators around education, health, and social and economic context. They also looked at 11 years’ worth of health outcomes data on 1,025,000 children, from the Mortality Disparities in American Communities study.

Children in very low-opportunity neighborhoods had a risk of dying prematurely 1.3 times higher than…
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