Urban Noise Pollution

By linking the noise model to national U.S. population data, we made some interesting discoveries. First, in both rural and urban areas, affluent communities were quieter. Neighborhoods with median annual incomes below US$25,000 were nearly 2 decibels louder than neighborhoods with incomes above $100,000 per year. And nationwide, communities with 75 percent black residents had median nighttime noise levels of 46.3 decibels – 4 decibels louder than communities with no black residents. A 10-decibel increase represents a doubling in loudness of a sound, so these are big differences.

— Source: Urban noise pollution is worst in poor and minority neighborhoods and segregated cities

[Very interesting post on human geography of noise pollution and hypothesizing about its causes from Discard Studies.  For more information about human geography as a concept, check out the “Human Geography” chapters of WorldView Software’s World Geography.]

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Dr. Annelies Kamran is V.P. for Content and Product Development at WorldView Software, Inc.

2 thoughts on “Urban Noise Pollution”

  1. Very important info share. Correction: + 3 dB = twice the volume. dB logarithmic so + 10 dB = sound power increases by factor of 10. +20 dB = sound power increases by factor of 20. The Quiet Coalition https://thequietcoalition.org/ and silencity.com https://www.silencity.com/ are a new group of noise activists/quiet advocates fighting noise pollution and the quiet inequality between rich and poor. I’ve seen much higher /worse community noise levels than this for low income areas near airports, highways,etc. Noise pollution causing delayed learning, bad health that just feeds into cycle of poverty.


    1. Thanks for the clarification. And thanks for the links; The Quiet Coalition’s advocacy work could make an important civics project for an interested student.


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