How income inequality can also be bad for health

Research from the University of Wisconsin Population Health Institute found evidence supporting that living in an area with high income inequality can be bad for health, much like living in a poor community. The researchers found that the effects of inequality came out to a difference of about 11 days of life between high- and low-inequality places, and that for every increment that a community became more unequal, the proportion of residents who died before reaching the age of 75 went up. The cause for the drop in life expectancy has two potential theories (NYT, 3/30):

One theory is that while money does tend to buy better health, it makes a bigger difference for people low on the income scale than those at the top. That means that having fewer very poor people in a community will improve average health more than having fewer very rich people will diminish it.

But another, more sociological theory, has to do with the communities themselves. The researchers think that places where wealthy residents can essentially buy their way out of social services may have less cohesion and investment in things like education and public health that we know affect life span. There is also literature suggesting that it’s stressful to live among people who are wealthier than you. That stress may translate into mental health problems or cardiac disease for lower-income residents of unequal places.

– Attention WRAG members – have you signed up to “get on the map” yet? The Community Foundation for Northern Virginia has! Eileen Ellsworth and Jen McCollum share why they’re excited about the new mapping tool that will help members see who is funding what and where in our region. (Daily 3/30)

The Community Foundation for Prince George’s County invites the funding community to visit nonprofit organizations that are moving Prince George’s County forward through safety-net, education and workforce development services. Guests will spend approximately one hour touring facilities, observing programs in action, and conversing with the organization’s leadership team. Those interested in going on a site visit should email Alicia Barrett at to register at least one week in advance.

– Applications for the Diverse City Fund’s eighth grant round are due by midnight on Tuesday, March 31. The Diverse City Fund makes grants of $5,000 or less to grassroots projects/organizations led by and organized in communities of color in the District. Applications and information on how to apply are available here.

AFFORDABLE HOUSING | When cheap housing isn’t really a good deal (WaPo, 3/26)

– In Fairfax County, as races for public office begin, many residents and party leaders are concerned with the lack of diversity among candidates in an area that has seen significant changes in demographics over the last 15 years. (WaPo, 3/29)

– Households earning at least $200K Are Now Biggest Group in Arlington (ARLnow, 3/27)

EVENTS | On April 23-24, 2015, the annual policy briefing of the Neighborhood Funders Group’s Working Group on Labor and Community Partnerships will take place at the Public Welfare Foundation. The event addresses opportunities to advance economic justice and security for all. Click here to find out more and to register for the event.

Do you know the history behind Anacostia’s Big Chair?

– Ciara