Low-income residents more likely to care about neighborhood

U. MISSOURI (US) — Some may assume that residents of run-down, crime-ridden neighborhoods don’t care about their communities, but new research suggests otherwise.

Mansoo Yu, an assistant professor of social work and public health at the University of Missouri, studied levels of community care and vigilance among residents living in high-crime, low-income areas.

Community care and vigilance refer to individuals’ desires to improve their communities, to take pride in their neighborhoods, and to monitor and report unwelcome happenings, such as crimes, near their homes.

“We hypothesized that individuals with higher incomes would have higher levels of community care and vigilance, but the opposite was true,” Yu says. “Residents with lower incomes were more likely to care about their communities than their higher-earning neighbors.”

Yu says he and colleagues were somewhat surprised by the findings that lower-income residents cared more about their communities. The study is published in the journal Race and Social Problems.

“One possibility is that because these individuals had such low incomes, they were more likely to stay in the same area for a long time,” Yu says. “Low-income residents might lack the resources to move to other communities, whereas their neighbors with relatively higher incomes might be more able to move to better neighborhoods with safer environments.”

Yu says community workers and organizers as well as public health professionals should find ways for residents to develop pride in their neighborhoods and encourage them to take actions, such as volunteering, to improve their communities.

“Healthy local environments are related to overall well-being and good mental and physical health,” Yu says. “Individuals tend to feel safer in their local communities when they have low levels of depression and high levels of self-esteem. More work is needed to improve low-income areas into healthy environments so individuals’ well-beings can improve.”

Source: University of Missouri

chat6 Comments


  1. Californian

    In California that is not true. People born in California are hard core people as a whole. I moved resently. Here where I live, they called this one person their friend. She had alzhiemers. I am not spelling it right. She needed a lot help with medical and personal care at home. Non of them friends helped her and I was critisized for helping her.

    They leave their dogs out to bite their neighbors. They are having cat and dog wars. They don’t care about the animals, just getting even with each other.

    There is also racial bias issues here also.

    People in America need to get back to core Christian values. We to love our neighbors and Gods creation.

  2. LeastMostWanted

    This makes no sense. If these people care more why are their neighborhoods so awful? When I see trash in my neighborhood either on my street or blocks away I pick it up and put it on a trash can. I am middle class, living in a middle class neighborhood. The neighborhood is mostly clean and the homes here are well cared for. The marginal area near by is filthy with unmoved lawns and peeling paint. 1 ounce action beats a ton of words. This study was a waste of time.

  3. Johnny Wilson

    This sounds like some kind of liberal study looking to justify a position rather than discover the reality of the situation. (A gov’t funded study, I bet.) Otherwise, how do you explain why low-income, gov’t housing has to be replaced so often – not refurbished, but torn down and rebuilt? More caring? Laughable.

  4. kimbee

    Regular licks pf paint and lawnmowers cost money. Try to put yourself in someone elses shoes instead of judging by appearance.

  5. LeastMostWanted

    @kimbee picking up garbage cost nothing. Like I said, 1 ounce action beats a ton of words. The difference between saying “I care about my neighborhood” vs. doing something to prove it. If you need a community organizer to get your neighborhood cleaned up and looking nice, chances are the majority of the people in your neighborhood don’t care about it. People who care about their neighborhood look after it. Your comment is also very foolish, your are in effect saying it takes money to have a nice neighborhood. I am saying just the opposite.

  6. kimbee

    Does it? Or does it mean that people are too busy working to be able to spend time making sure their street looks nice? It’s not as simple as you make out. I am working class and I live in a country that has been hit very badly by the recession, particularly the area that I live in. We work long hours just to make the rent. Just because we don’t have the time doesn’t mean that we don’t care. There are a lot of people who come through my part of the city and think that they can use it as a dumping ground. They are not the people that live there. It would take a lot of money to clean everything up, not just in equipment but also in time. We love our city, we are very proud of our city. But when you have tourists and visitors walking through after nights out leaving rubbish and vomit in the streets every night there really isn’t that much that you can do about it. It depends greatly on the individual ‘poor area’ I guess but I don’t live in a ‘neighbourhood’, I live in a city centre. Your comment is foolish as you are making assumptions about people who you know nothing about.

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