Premature Death linked to Prevalence of Payday Lenders

December 31, 2014

Follow this link to an Ottawa Citizen article on recent research done in Toronto linking number of payday lenders (ONS calls them “alternative financial institutions”) with premature death. They mention that the original intent of the study was to look at access to alcohol. It turned out the density of cheque-cashing joints was much more strongly linked to a neighbourhood’s rate of early death than its density of bars and liquor stores — the easily measured proxy the researchers had used in place of much-harder-to-gather statistics on individual alcohol use.

The researchers at St. Michael’s Hospital, who published their work this month in an online offshoot of the British Medical Journal, factored both poverty and crime into their calculations. Even if you’re poor to begin with, they found, you’re more likely to die early if you live in a neighbourhood with a lot of payday lenders than if you don’t. The implication is that these places take poverty and turn it into dangerous desperation.