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Neighbors, Community and Well-Being: Evidence from a Local Neighborhood

December 11, 2012 Dallas Fed

Hosted by the Federal Reserve Bank of Dallas, in partnership with the University of Texas at Dallas

At this policy forum, researchers from the University of Texas at Dallas Neighborhood Change Research Initiatives shared their methodologies and findings with community leaders, financial institution representatives and other academics. The studies examined the effects of spatial proximity and behavioral measures on health, child behavior and financial well-being based on data collected from a low-income, predominantly minority neighborhood in South Dallas. Some main findings included:

  • Greater risk aversion is associated with lower body mass index, and thus, better health.
  • Food choices of neighbors can be an important predictor of one's own diet.
  • Proximity to grocery stores is positively associated with the likelihood of shopping at these fresh food sources.
  • Checking account ownership and financial knowledge, as well as the use of low-cost financial services and products, are associated with improved financial decisions.
  • Children's behavioral patterns are influenced both by the physical condition of the neighborhood and the behavior of other children within close proximity.


11:30 a.m.



Alfreda B. Norman

Vice President and Community Development Officer
Federal Reserve Bank of Dallas

11:35 a.m.

Overview of the Fair Park Area Neighborhood Study

James C. Murdoch

Professor and Head of Economics Program
University of Texas at Dallas

12:45 p.m.

GrowSouth Project

Shawn Williams

Deputy Chief of Staff
Office of the Mayor
City of Dallas

1:05 p.m.

Neighborhood Change Research Initiatives Research Panel



Tammy Leonard
Senior Lecturer and Director of Graduate Studies
University of Texas at Dallas


Economic Preferences and Obesity in a Low-Income African-American Community

Catherine Eckel

Sara and John Lindsey Professor in Liberal Arts
Texas A&M University


Pathways to Financial Advancement: A Case Study

Wenhua Di

Senior Economist
Federal Reserve Bank of Dallas


Nutrition, Food Access and Social Behavior in a Low-Income Minority Neighborhood

Caitlin McKillop

University of Texas at Dallas


Spatial Dependence in Child Behavior Problems: Implications for Individual and Community-Wide Interventions

Margaret Caughy

Associate Professor of Health Promotion and Behavioral Sciences
Director, Maternal and Child Health Training Program
University of Texas School of Public Health

2:30 p.m. Adjourn