Health Policy


Place Matters for Health in Cook County: Ensuring Opportunities for Good Health for All

PLACE MATTERS for health in important ways, according to a growing body of research. Differences in neighborhood conditions powerfully predict who is healthy, who is sick, and who lives longer. And because of patterns of residential segregation, these differences are the fundamental causes of health inequities among different racial, ethnic, and socioeconomic groups.

The Joint Center for Political and Economic Studies and Cook County, IL, PLACE MATTERS team are very pleased to add to the existing knowledge base with this report, Place Matters for Health in Cook County: Ensuring Opportunities for Good Health for All. The report, supported by a grant from the National Institute on Minority Health and Health Disparities (NIMHD) of the National Institutes of Health and written in conjunction with the Center on Human Needs at the Virginia Commonwealth University and the Virginia Network for Geospatial Health Research, provides a comprehensive analysis of the range of social, economic, and environmental conditions in Cook County and documents their relationship to the health status of the county’s residents.

The study finds that social, economic, and environmental conditions in low-income and nonwhite neighborhoods make it more difficult for people in these neighborhoods to live healthy lives.

The overall pattern in this report – and those of others that the Joint Center has conducted with other PLACE MATTERS communities – suggests that we need to tackle the structures and systems that create and perpetuate inequality to fully close racial and ethnic health gaps. Accordingly, because the Joint Center seeks not only to document these inequities, we are committed to helping remedy them.

The report is available for download here. Spanish-language versions of our executive summary are also available.