Study: Small businesses better for community health

Parishes and counties with a greater concentration of small, locally owned businesses have healthier populations than those relying on large companies with “absentee” owners, according to a national study by sociologists at LSU and Baylor University. The study of 3,060 U.S. counties and parishes will be published in the March issue of Cambridge Journal of Regions, Economy and Society. By analyzing national population, health, business and housing data, LSU and Baylor researchers found that the greater the proportion of small businesses, the healthier the population—with lower rates of mortality, obesity and diabetes. Researchers analyzed data from the 2000 Census of Population and Housing, the 2007 Centers for Disease Control Obesity and Diabetes Estimates, the National Center for Health Statistics Compressed Mortality records from 1994 to 2006, the 2002 County Business Patterns and the 2002 Nonemployer Statistics. They analyzed the number of small businesses per 100,000 people, categorizing small businesses as those with four or fewer employees; large manufacturing establishments as those with 500 or more employees; and large retailers as those with 100 or more employees. See the full 14-page study here.

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