Social Characteristics May Influence Environmental
U.S. census data can be used to assess social characteristics of women that
may affect health. Previous studies have shown a link between breast cancer
incidence and higher socioeconomic status. Socioeconomic status describes the
relative ranking of individuals in terms of social position and prestige, usually
measured by criteria such as education, occupation, and income. Census data
on level of education and home value can be used to approximate socioeconomic
status. Silent Spring Institute researchers hope to better explain the relationship
between socioeconomic status and breast cancer.
Although neither wealth nor level of education causes breast cancer, researchers
believe that women with higher socioeconomic status may share environmental
exposures or lifestyle factors that increase risk. The maps on this page show
information from the 1990 U.S. census.
Rapid population growth on Cape Cod has led to the development of forest
or agricultural land for residential use. During the 1980s the towns
of Mashpee, Sandwich, and Brewster experienced the greatest relative
increase in population.
When determining an area's ratio of permanent residents to total housing
units, those with smaller ratios have more seasonal housing and a permanent
year-round population that is comparatively small. Areas with seasonal
units are concentrated along the coasts.
Because income does not accurately reflect the standard of living of the
large retired population on Cape Cod, researchers use education level,
such as completion of high school or college, and property values to assess
as an Indicator of Socioeconomic Status
These three maps show educational attainment for populations aged 25 or
older. The colors are keyed to percentages of this population having a high
school diploma, bachelor's
degree, or bachelor's
degree or higher.