Do You Know How Safe Your Air Is? Assessment of a Survey Measure of Perceived Air Quality

Katherine King, University of Michigan

Concern about the health effects and environmental justice implications of air pollution is widespread, but there is almost no studies relating pollution with demographic characteristics. It is not known whether people are aware of or able to accurately access their risks, although perception of risk level is likely a factor in neighborhood choice. Given challenges in using objective data about air pollution, perceived measures may also be useful in survey research seeking to predict health outcomes. This paper first investigates the relative contributions of individual sociodemographic characteristics, personality, and exposure to outdoor air, as well as neighborhood socioeconomic status. Next, analysis includes industrial and transportation land uses, proximity to polluting industry, and other features of the built environment. Analysis then compares perception with available objective data on air pollution risk.

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Presented in Session 51: Measurement and Methods in Population and Environment Research