Who walks more, who has a higher chance of becoming richer?
Man among people
Walking is considered to have many advantages. Regular physical activity makes us healthier. People living in areas whose infrastructure is suitable for walking, as a rule, are more active, and they also have more time for family and friends.
But the advantages of places with high pedestrian traffic are not limited to this! It turns out that children whose childhood passes in areas where you can do without a personal car have more chances for a successful life. And with a high degree of probability their income will be higher than that of their parents. This was found by researchers from Columbia University, the University of Virginia and the University of Illinois.
Economic mobility is a force that helps a person to move up or down the economic “ladder”. We are primarily interested in precisely the “rise”, and therefore we are more often talking not about economic mobility as such, but about the so-called social elevator.
This phenomenon implies various career paths that people use to build careers and improve living standards in general. But not only the personal efforts of a particular person affect his income in the future: the environment can also influence what step on the “ladder” we take.
The highest level of economic mobility is shown by those whose childhood was spent in “pedestrian” areas
A recent study showed that our ability for economic mobility is related to the area in which we grew up.
Scientists analyzed data from 9 million Americans born between 1980 and 1982. They examined the likelihood that children from families that were at the bottom of the list by income level would achieve a high income level by age 30. It turned out that the chances of success for those who grew up in places with high pedestrian traffic are higher than those who spent their childhood in other conditions.
That is, the highest level of economic mobility is shown by those whose childhood passed in areas where it was possible to move on foot.
Fortunately – for two
There are many advantages to the terrain on which you can walk, as we have already said. People who live in “pedestrian” areas can spend more time with their families and spend less on their journey from home to work. Also, those who live in such places more often than others report higher levels of happiness and well-being.
Researchers have taken into account that the result may reflect the effect of not the very ability to move without a car as such, but other characteristics inherent in pedestrian areas. It turned out that the level of economic mobility is higher in those communities where population density is higher and segregation is lower.
That is, areas with good walking distance are not just convenient infrastructure. Often the “cross” of the city speaks of higher incomes, better health and life expectancy of its population, researchers say. In such settlements, more work is associated with mental activity, and not with hard physical labor. The crime rate is lower there, and residents relate to each other more calmly and tolerantly.
And also for residents of settlements convenient for walking, it is easier to get education in good schools
Families with children living in areas that are easy to get around without a car also have a number of advantages. Firstly, you can save on gasoline and car maintenance. Secondly, the pedestrian accessibility of various infrastructure facilities gives local residents access to a wide selection of jobs. Consequently, the economic opportunities of the population are higher than in the area where you can only move by car.
When our need for a car decreases, new opportunities open up for us in terms of employment and the choice of a field of activity, the authors of the study are sure. And also for residents of settlements convenient for walking, it is easier to get education in good schools, because it is simply easier for everyone to get to them.
So, if we want children to have more opportunities, it is better to live with them where there is an opportunity to use the car as little as possible, psychologists are sure.