Long Live the Homeless?
by cmisk on March 14, 2014 - 3:30pm
Body: Thinking about this, I was curious to see what case studies have been going on recently involving the homeless population. The journal article, “Mortality and Life Expectancy in Homeless Men and Women in Rotterdam: 2001-2010”, really grabbed my attention because it provides conclusive data demonstrating the life expectancy among the homeless population. The goals of these researchers were to not only to compare the mortality between homeless men and women but to also compare their average death ages to the average death ages of the general population. This case study was specifically interesting because it was an on-going research study, having duration of 10 years. After 2,096 homeless adults being check up on between 2001-2010, in any homeless services in Rotterdam (the Netherlands), it was clear that homeless people indeed live a significantly shorter life than those of the general population. With the follow up in 2010, 265 homeless people had died within that decade. Reviewing the homeless men and women that had passed, the mortality rate was higher in the women than the men. When they compared these results with the general population, the homeless mortality rate was 3.5 times higher! Life expectancy of the homeless population was between 11-16 years lower than the general population.
Clearly, the homeless population not only suffers from a lacking of a consistent environment, but also suffers from an earlier death. The research and collection methods in this case study left little room for errors in the collected data. The main questions asked for the participants are male or female, dead or alive, and current age. The author only includes specific numbers when talking about the sample size and the number of deceased homeless people at the end of the 10 year period. The statistics are easy to understand. The author gives a small range of years between the homeless population expectancy and general population expectancy, which also gives little room for tainted results because all the collected results fell in between the range. The fact that the experimenter found his homeless participants at different homeless services and facilities around the Netherlands was a very effective way to find subjects. The homeless clearly don’t stay in one place or street for long, so it would’ve been too hard for the experimenter to keep up with the homeless participants on the street. These facilities and services are regularly checked into the by homeless public. After reading this journal article I had to wonder why the homeless die so much earlier? There are possible reasons, lack of money, no job, drug problems, even family matters. This journal post does not explain why there is a large gap in life expectancy between the homeless and the general population.
Reference Source: Nusselder, W. (2013) mortality and life expectancy in homeless men and women in Rotterdam: 2001-2010. PLoS ONE, 8, 1-14