Sociologists at Louisiana State and Baylor Universities have found that areas with a high concentration of locally owned businesses have healthier populations – with lower rates of obesity, diabetes and mortality.
Published in the Cambridge Journal of Regions, Economy and Society, the study suggested that small, local businesses have a vested interest in the well-being of the local community. It is in their financial interest to make the area a place people want to live and work in.
Co-author Charles Tolbert, chair of the sociology department at Baylor told the Cambridge Journal of Regions, Economy and Society, “Some communities appear to have thriving small business sectors that feature entrepreneurial cultures that promote public health.
“A place like this has a can-do climate, a practical problem-solving approach in which a community takes control of its own destiny.”
Researchers also found that small businesses are more likely to support health infrastructures and local farmer’s markets, push for anti-smoking laws and promote community health programmes.
How does this affect expats?
These areas with small, locally owned businesses clearly have a community spirit that is reflected in the overall health of residents.
Expat that choose to settle in these areas are less likely to suffer from diabetes and other life-limiting illnesses. It is not a big leap to suggest that such communities have more of a “community spirit” that will help expats to settle in to their new lives quickly.