Wednesday, July 29, 2009

urban planning questions, or bill oreilly on life expectancy

Bill O'Reilly claims that Canada's Life Expectancy is higher than ours because we have 10 times as many people, so we have 10 times as many deaths.

so... bill o reilly is an idiot, I'm not defending what he said, it was truly stupid
(the write in question from Peter Gillies was more subtly stupid, due to things like confounding variables - we DO have many more accidents and alcohol/drug overdoses and heart attacks and all sorts of things that are behavior related, not healthcare related - our cure rate for just about any given disease is significantly better than the rest of the world)

However, as a question that I find interesting, for the urban planners out there...

wouldn't something like crime or accidents happen exponentially with population density? Obviously straight up population won't do it (hence O'Reilly's dumb), but wouldn't you expect more crime or accidents per capita in the Northeast than in the Midwest, for example, because there are more cars around to crash into, or more potential victims of crime? Or is this offset by the fact that having few people around lulls you to sleep (in terms of accident avoidance or crime protections), or more traffic slows you down and more people makes more witnesses? or more/fewer opportunities for people to own cars/work when lots of people are agglomerated in one place?

I'm not asking for hypotheses... does anyone actually know the answer?

this isn't meant as a defense of O'Reilly, just for my curiosity.

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