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Geographical and Social Influences on Health

There is abundant and growing evidence that places matter to health, over and above the characteristics of individuals. The relevance of places to health has been considered across a wide range, from the national scale down to the neighborhood level. This entry highlights some of the key geographical and social factors (including socioeconomic status, social capital, and income inequality) and empirical evidence that have been explored at the country, state/regional, and neighborhood levels, and that have advanced existing knowledge in the field.

Country-Level Contexts

Geographic contexts at the country level have long been recognized as related to variations in health. Life expectancy and mortality rates from particular diseases are known to vary widely across countries. A half century ago, evidence was gathered that suggested that part of ...

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