Social and Economic Differences in Neighborhood Walkability Across 500 U.S. Cities

Sarah E. Conderino, Justin M. Feldman, Benjamin Spoer, Marc Gourevitch, Lorna E. Thorpe

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

Abstract

Introduction: Neighborhood walkability has been established as a potentially important determinant of various health outcomes that are distributed inequitably by race/ethnicity and sociodemographic status. The objective of this study is to assess the differences in walkability across major urban centers in the U.S. Methods: City- and census tract–level differences in walkability were assessed in 2020 using the 2019 Walk Score across 500 large cities in the U.S. Results: At both geographic levels, high-income and majority White geographic units had the lowest walkability overall. Walkability was lower with increasing tertile of median income among majority White, Latinx, and Asian American and Native Hawaiian and Pacific Islander neighborhoods. However, this association was reversed within majority Black neighborhoods, where tracts in lower-income tertiles had the lowest walkability. Associations varied substantially by region, with the strongest differences observed for cities located in the South. Conclusions: Differences in neighborhood walkability across 500 U.S. cities provide evidence that both geographic unit and region meaningfully influence associations between sociodemographic factors and walkability. Structural interventions to the built environment may improve equity in urban environments, particularly in lower-income majority Black neighborhoods.

Original languageEnglish (US)
JournalAmerican journal of preventive medicine
DOIs
StateAccepted/In press - 2021

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Epidemiology
  • Public Health, Environmental and Occupational Health

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