Urban Fold

New Study: More Urban = More Safe

A new study by researchers at Children's and the University of Pennsylvania concludes that, contrary to popular perception, cities are safer than rural or suburban areas. Higher rates of fatal car accidents outside cities are largely to blame.

Marie McCullough explains the findings of a new study published online Tuesday in the Annals of Emergency Medicine that examined fatal injury rates across the United States. "Like previous studies, the new one found that homicide rates are higher in cities than the boonies. (Suicide rates were not significantly different.) But the new analysis defied the prevailing perception that cities are innately more dangerous than remote areas. The most rural counties had the highest rate of fatal injuries - 74 deaths per 100,000 residents - compared with 50 deaths per 100,000 in the most urbanized counties."

"People who are considering moving out of cities because of safety concerns may want to 'reexamine their motivations,'" said lead researcher Sage Myers, an emergency medicine physician at Children's Hospital of Philadelphia.

What accounts for the difference? Cars, says McCullough, "the leading cause of accidental death everywhere."

"Crashes caused 28 deaths per 100,000 residents in the most rural counties, compared with 11 deaths per 100,000 in the biggest cities."

Full Story: It's safer in cities, but not in Phila.

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