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Social scientists have repeatedly uncovered a disturbing feature of economic inequality: people with larger incomes and better education tend to lead longer, healthier lives. This pattern holds across all ages and for virtually all measures of health, apparently indicating a biological dimension of inequality. But scholars have only begun to understand the complex mechanisms that drive this disparity. How exactly do financial well-being and human physiology interact? The Biological Consequences of Socioeconomic Inequalities incorporates insights from the social and biological sciences to quantify the biology of disadvantage and to assess how poverty gets under the skin to impact health. Drawing from unusually rich datasets of biomarkers, brain scans, and socioeconomic measures, Biological Consequences of Socioeconomic Inequalities illustrates exciting new paths to understanding social inequalities in health. Barbara Wolfe, William N. Evans and Nancy Adler begin the volume with a critical evaluation of the literature on income and health, providing a lucid review of the difficulties of establishing clear causal pathways between the two variables. In their chapter, Arun S. Karlamangla, Tara L. Gruenewald, and Teresa E. Seeman outline the potential of biomarkers—such as cholesterol, heart pressure, and C-reactive protein—to assess and indicate the factors underlying health. Edith Chen, Hannah M. C. Schreier, and Meanne Chan reveal the empirical power of biomarkers by examining asthma, a condition steeply correlated with socioeconomic status. Their analysis shows how stress at the individual, family, and neighborhood levels can increase the incidence of asthma. The volume then turns to cognitive neuroscience, using biomarkers in a new way to examine the impact of poverty on brain development. Jamie Hanson, Nicole Hair, Amitabh Chandra, Ed Moss, Jay Bhattacharya, Seth D. Pollack, and Barbara Wolfe use a longitudinal Magnetic Resonance Imaging (MRI) study of children between the ages of four and eighteen to study the link between poverty and limited cognition among children. Michelle C. Carlson, Christopher L. Seplaki, and Teresa E. Seeman also focus on brain development to examine the role of socioeconomic status in cognitive decline among older adults. Featuring insights from the biological and social sciences, Biological Consequences of Socioeconomic Inequalities will be an essential resource for scholars interested in socioeconomic disparities and the biological imprint that material deprivation leaves on the human body.
The rapid rise in the proportion of foreign-born residents in the United States since the mid-1960s is one of the most important demographic events of the past fifty years. The increase in immigration, especially among the less-skilled and less-educated, has prompted fears that the newcomers may have depressed the wages and employment of the native-born, burdened state and local budgets, and slowed the U.S. economy as a whole. Would the poverty rate be lower in the absence of immigration? How does the undocumented status of an increasing segment of the foreign-born population impact wages in the United States? In Immigration, Poverty, and Socioeconomic Inequality, noted labor economists David Card and Steven Raphael and an interdisciplinary team of scholars provide a comprehensive assessment of the costs and benefits of the latest era of immigration to the United States Immigration, Poverty, and Socioeconomic Inequality rigorously explores shifts in population trends, labor market competition, and socioeconomic segregation to investigate how the recent rise in immigration affects economic disadvantage in the United States. Giovanni Peri analyzes the changing skill composition of immigrants to the United States over the past two decades to assess their impact on the labor market outcomes of native-born workers. Despite concerns over labor market competition, he shows that the overall effect has been benign for most native groups. Moreover, immigration appears to have had negligible impacts on native poverty rates. Ethan Lewis examines whether differences in English proficiency explain this lack of competition between immigrant and native-born workers. He finds that parallel Spanish-speaking labor markets emerge in areas where Spanish speakers are sufficiently numerous, thereby limiting the impact of immigration on the wages of native-born residents. While the increase in the number of immigrants may not necessarily hurt the job prospects of native-born workers, low-skilled migration appears to suppress the wages of immigrants themselves. Michael Stoll shows that linguistic isolation and residential crowding in specific metropolitan areas has contributed to high poverty rates among immigrants. Have these economic disadvantages among low-skilled immigrants increased their dependence on the U.S. social safety net? Marianne Bitler and Hilary Hoynes analyze the consequences of welfare reform, which limited eligibility for major cash assistance programs. Their analysis documents sizable declines in program participation for foreign-born families since the 1990s and suggests that the safety net has become less effective in lowering child poverty among immigrant households. As the debate over immigration reform reemerges on the national agenda, Immigration, Poverty, and Socioeconomic Inequality provides a timely and authoritative review of the immigrant experience in the United States. With its wealth of data and intriguing hypotheses, the volume is an essential addition to the field of immigration studies. A Volume in the National Poverty Center Series on Poverty and Public Policy
The purpose of this study is to evaluate the skeletal health of European immigrants and Euro-Americans from late 19th and early 20th century New York City in order to understand the biological impact of socio-economic inequality and poverty in a stratified urban society during this time period. This project analyzes 1508 partial human skeletons from the George S. Huntington Anatomical Skeletal Collection, housed at the National Museum of Natural History (Smithsonian Institution) in Washington, D.C. Specifically, this research compares skeletal health indicators from German, Irish, and Italian individuals with health indicators from impoverished U.S.-born individuals in order to determine if socio-economic disparities between these groups differentially impacted their skeletal health. This project builds on existing biocultural scholarship by situating skeletal health and socio-economic status through mortuary context, historical data, and narratives of social prejudice. Inclusion of the immigrant experience in previous skeletal studies is minimal. Rather than assimilating immigrants as one ethnic category, this study explores how heterogeneous nationality groups were treated and perceived, and how the intersection of social and physical processes is embodied and expressed in their skeletal remains. The comparison of skeletal health between immigrants and Euro-Americans is carried out using analyses of trauma, bone lesions, and severe osteoarthritis. Results indicate that statistically significant differences in frequencies of health indicators exist between historic German, Irish, Italian, and U.S.-born nationality cohorts.
For the first time in over twenty-five years. the issue of poverty -- and our failure to deal with it -- is back at the top of the policy agenda and on the front page of the news. In this magisterial overview social historian Michael B. Katz, examines the ideas and assumptions that have shaped public policy from the sixties War on Poverty to the current war on welfare. Closely argued and lucidly written. The Undeserving Poor transcends the barriers that have channeled the American discussion of poverty and wealth into a narrow, self-defeating course, and points the way to a new, constructive approach to our major social problem. From the Trade Paperback edition.
How does social standing affect our health and longevity?
The Oxford Handbook of Economics and Human Biology provides an extensive and insightful overview of how economic conditions affect human well-being and how human health influences economic outcomes. Among the topics explored are how variations in height, whether over time, among different socio-economic groups, and in different locations, are important indicators of changes in economic growth and economic development, levels of economic inequality, and economic opportunities for individuals. The book covers a broad geographic range: Africa, Latin and North America, Asia, and Europe. Its temporal scope ranges from the late Iron Age to the present. Taking advantage of recent improvements in data and economic methods, the book also explores how humans' biological conditions influence and are influenced by their economic circumstances, including poverty. Among the issues addressed are how height, body mass index (BMI), and obesity can affect and are affected by productivity, wages, and wealth. How family environment affects health and well-being is examined, as is the importance of both pre-birth and early childhood conditions for subsequent economic outcomes. Reflecting this dynamic and expanding area of research, the volume shows that well-being is a salient aspect of economics, and the new toolkit of evidence from biological living standards enhances understanding of industrialization, commercialization, income distribution, the organization of health care, social status, and the redistributive state affect such human attributes as physical stature, weight, and the obesity epidemic in historical and contemporary populations.
Shows the potential for a reintegrated, critical, and politically relevant biocultural anthropology

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