There are indeed inequities in this world but few to none of them will make sense unless one considers migration. By which we mean here the internal sorting of the country’s population, not the effects of any influx - or its absence - from outside. That Eastbourne has a higher average lifespan that the Gorbals is true, but that people move to the coastal city to retire explains some to much of that. People who have reached the age of 65 they can retire at having a longer expected lifespan than the population as a whole - and very much longer than places people leave if they can.
Equally, Michael Marmot’s insistences about health inequality become much clearer when we - as he so often fails to do - consider that health inequality itself will cause economic inequality. It is not just and only that economic inequality causes health inequality.
To today’s muttering:
Mind the green gap: access to nature shouldn't be a luxury
An interesting concept in itself, the historical human problem has been how to gain shelter from the ravages of nature. Good to know that capitalism and free markets have inverted that concern. But still, migration isn’t being properly considered:
Access to green space is important for both mental and physical health. There is plenty of research that backs that up, but it is also just common sense, something most of us viscerally feel. Increasingly, however, access to nature is becoming a luxury: growing inequality has resulted in a “green gap”. A recent study by researchers at the University of British Columbia, for example, found that access to parks and green space in American metropolitan areas correlates with class, education and race. The whiter and richer you are, the more likely you are to have access to a few trees.
It is a similar story in the UK. According to a 2013 report by the National Children’s Bureau, for example, the least deprived children in Britain are “nine times more likely than those living in the most deprived areas to have access to green space, places to play and to live in environments with better air quality”.
Let us just take that as being true. What might be causing it?
Let us again take as being true that access to green spaces, parks and the delights of controlled nature, is indeed desirable. So, what is going to happen over the decades? Humans desire these things therefore the richer among us will preferentially purchase where these things exist. The poorer will find their housing needs better met by living in the cheaper areas which do not have them.
That is, it is the very insistence that the greenery is something we value which explains the sorting into rich and poor inhabitants of the relevant areas. As shown by the difference in property prices.
There’s simply so much that cannot be understood without considering the effects of migration.