“It has been said that your ZIP code may be more important for your health than your genetic code. This is because factors known as the social determinants of health (such as housing, education, job opportunities, child care, and transportation) can greatly influence your chances of becoming sick and dying early. Your address reflects the daily living conditions that can create—or limit—your opportunities to be healthy.” (Edmonds et al. (2015). “How Do Neighborhood Conditions Shape Health?” from Making the Case for Linking Community Development and Health. Robert Wood Johnson Foundation.

Definition of Social Influencers of Health
According to the Office of Disease Prevention and Health Promotion of the US Department of Health and Human Services, social determinants of health are the conditions in which people are born, live, learn, work, play, worship, and age that affect a wide range of health, functioning, and quality-of-life outcomes and risks. They are the social, economic, and physical conditions in these various environments (school, church, workplace, and neighborhood), such as public policies, patterns of social engagement, and sense of security and well-being. Resources that enhance quality of life extend beyond medical care and can have a significant influence on population health outcomes. These resources include safe and affordable housing, access to education, public safety, availability of healthy foods, local emergency/health services, and environments free of life-threatening toxins.

Neighborhood and Built Environment is one of the key areas of social determinants of health in Healthy People 2020’s “place-based” organizing framework.