Could Lousy Neighbors Be Affecting Your Health?

It’s no surprise to learn that the neighborhood you live in can directly affect your health. It’s been proven that people who live in lower income areas tend to experience lower education level and higher crime, and as a result, those people aren’t as happy. But living in a rich neighborhood doesn’t immediately mean you’ll be healthier and happier, especially if your neighbors are jerks. A new study has shown that no matter what kind of neighborhood you live in, if you have lousy neighbors it will negatively affect your health.

A team of scientists recently studied 11,000 people. They asked them questions about how much they liked their neighbors and then reviewed the participants’ medical records. They found that 1/3 of the people who didn’t like their neighbors also had health problems. Of the people surveyed who said they actually liked their neighbors, less than 1/4 had health issues.

The study also revealed the qualities that people feel make up a “good neighborhood.”  By and large, people want neighbors who are kind, friendly, and can be trusted. On a personal level, they want to feel like they belong to a community and they want to feel safe.

The study also showed that money does still affect the health of people in certain neighborhoods. Two-fifths of the adults in a lower-income community are likely to have health issues, according to the results of the study. However, money isn’t everything.

A sense of community seems to be the biggest driving factor in being “happy” when it comes to where you live. The researchers offered a possible explanation for this. While having tons of money might ensure that you have a beautiful home and fancy car, if you live in a rich neighborhood everyone on the street will have a big home and fancy car. This can lead to overworking and competition—after all, nobody wants to have the oldest Ferrari on the block.

It’s the people who live in communities where nobody cares what you drive that people tend to be the happiest. They have block parties and potlucks. They help each other out. In the end, it’s other people that make you happy, not the square footage of your home or the number of zeros in your bank account.