Inequalities in Social and Physical Contexts of Older Adults’ Activity Spaces: Early Results From the CHART Study

Erin York Cornwell , Cornell University
Kathleen A. Cagney, University of Chicago
Louise Hawkley, NORC at the University of Chicago

A large literature points to the role of neighborhood conditions in the production of health disparities, but less is known about the relevance of other spaces of daily life. We draw on new data from the first wave of the Chicago Health and Activity Space in Real Time (CHART) study to describe older adults’ activity spaces, or the locations of routine activities of daily life. In the study, 450 community-residing older adults from ten Chicago neighborhoods carried smartphones for GPS tracking and ecological momentary assessments (EMAs) over seven days. We use GPS and EMA data to assess how the span, characteristics, and experiences of activity spaces vary across socioeconomic status and racial/ethnic groups. We conclude by discussing how activity spaces -- and their potential downstream effects on health -- may be an underexplored source of inequalities in older adults’ health and well-being.

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 Presented in Session 72. Mobility, Activity Space Exposures, and Inequality