Map of households with no access to tap water in the United States, 2013-2017. Note: Lighter areas indicate areas with a higher number of households without tap water. There are plumber clusters in major cities and certain regions of the country. Photo credit: Katie Meehan.
A team of researchers from King’s College London, the University of Arizona, and ECONorthwest found that an estimated 1.1 million city dwellers in the United States live in homes without proper interior plumbing. In their article, published in the Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences, the group describes their analysis of census data for 50 of the largest metropolitan areas in the United States and what it shows about people living without standard indoor plumbing and associated facilities.
In advanced countries like the United States, most people are believed to have basic amenities such as access to clean water and facilities. In this new effort, researchers found that many people who live in some of the largest cities in the country are not. In reality, many people, especially minorities, live without proper sanitary facilities.
The work involved analyzing data obtained from the US Census Bureau, the federal government agency responsible for conducting statewide surveys every 10 years. To learn more about access to running water, the researchers focused on data from questions about whether people had access to “full plumbing” described as residential buildings that had both hot and cold running water along with at least some water Bath or shower was passed into her house. They found that for approximately 500,000 households in large urban areas, the answer was no.
Upon further interfering with the data, the researchers found that such households accounted for around 1.1 million people. They also found a link between a particular city’s wealth gap and the number of people living without tap water. For example, they found that percentage-affluent cities like San Francisco, Portland, and Austin had some of the highest rates of what they termed plumber poverty. Looking at the sheer numbers, they found that New York, Los Angeles, and San Francisco had the highest number of people living in poverty. They also found that race played a role. On average, blacks were 35 percent more likely to live with sanitary poverty than whites. They also found that poverty poverty is most common in rented facilities, especially mobile homes.
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Meehan et al., Geographies of Unsafe Access to Water and the Relationship between Housing and Water in US Cities. Procedure of the National Academy of Sciences (2020). DOI: 10.1073 / pnas.2007361117
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Quote: Study Shows Over 1.1 million U.S. City dwellers live in homes without proper indoor plumbing (2020, Nov. 3), as of March 8, 2021 from https://phys.org/news/2020-11-million -urban-people-homes- were retrieved. correct.html
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