Race and Social Problems

, Volume 4, Issue 3–4, pp 193–204 | Cite as

Exploring Neighborhood Effects on Health and Life Satisfaction: Disentangling Neighborhood Racial Density and Neighborhood Income

  • Amanda L. RoyEmail author
  • Diane Hughes
  • Hirokazu Yoshikawa


This study examines the independent and synergistic influences of neighborhood racial density and neighborhood income on several indicators of health status and life satisfaction in a sample of 311 adult African Americans living in New York City. This is made possible by the two-stage sampling procedure that was used in the collection of the data, ensuring that respondents’ neighborhoods vary on both racial density and income. Findings from a series of OLS regression models that adjust standard errors to account for the non-independence of observations demonstrate that neighborhood income moderates the relationship between racial density and health and life satisfaction. When neighborhood income is low, high neighborhood racial density is detrimental for health and life satisfaction. However, when neighborhood income is high, neighborhood racial density is protective for health and life satisfaction. These results indicate that the role of neighborhood income needs to be considered when examining the relationship between neighborhood racial density, health, and life satisfaction. Moreover, these findings may provide insight for understanding the past conflicting results.


Neighborhood racial density Neighborhood income Health Life satisfaction 



This research was supported by the John D. and Catherine T. MacArthur Foundation’s Mental Health and Human Development Program through membership in its Research Network on Successful Midlife Development.


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Copyright information

© Springer Science+Business Media, LLC 2012

Authors and Affiliations

  • Amanda L. Roy
    • 1
    Email author
  • Diane Hughes
    • 2
  • Hirokazu Yoshikawa
    • 3
  1. 1.Department of Applied Psychology, Steinhardt School of Education, Culture, and Human DevelopmentNew York UniversityNew YorkUSA
  2. 2.Department of Applied Psychology, Steinhardt School of Education, Culture, and Human DevelopmentNew York UniversityNew YorkUSA
  3. 3.Harvard School of EducationCambridgeUSA

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