Comment 50091

By urbanhealthprof (anonymous) | Posted October 21, 2010 at 17:30:06

I think it's possible to make a persuasive argument that the pattern of poverty in Hamilton is similar to that of many US cities. Cities like Winnipeg, Regina and Saskatoon have a similar pattern too. The 'hollowed out' core, large disparities between the inner city and the suburbs, etc. One big difference? The magnitude of inequality is MUCH greater in the US, although we should not laugh up our smug, self-satisfied Canadian sleeves too quickly - the gap between rich and poor has been growing rapidly for over a decade and the incomes of the bottom 90% of the population have stagnated or shrunk (in real terms) over the past 1/4 century, as documented by the Growing Gap project of the Canadian Centre for Policy Alternatives. So while the smaller gap (than in the US) may be cause for optimism, the overall societal trend towards growing inequality is working at cross purposes.

BTW, regarding the Wilkinson hypothesis, at least in the early 1990s, Canada fared fairly well, at least compared to the US. Among the 53 Canadian cities bigger than 50,000 people, there was no relationship between income inequality and population health. In the US, in the 282 similar cities, there was a very strong relationship between income inequality and population health. Looking at a larger set of countries, Canada is similar to Sweden and Australia, while the U.S. and the U.K. are similar - inequality is bad for health. Wilkinson has expanded his interest to other outcomes that are affected by inequality.


Also regarding Wilkinson, he is speaking in Toronto on December 10th:

Follow me on Twitter: @urbanhealthprof

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