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Cracking the Code

Posted by Colby Kinser on

Let this sink in:

Your zip code is a better predictor of your success than your genetic code.

According to statistics, which zip code you live has a greater impact on your success in school, work, social standing, health, mental health, and overall wellness than your DNA does.

There's no denying the tremendous impact DNA has on us, since many success factors can be inherited. The data don't suggest that DNA has only a small impact, but rather that where you live has an even greater impact.

Your zip code brings with it tremendous factors for success: quality of education, access to healthy foods, crime rate, access to healthcare, transportation, general safety, sustained stress levels, mental health services, sanitation, and so on. These factors trump genetics on overall impact.

To look at this another way, you could take identical twins and place them in drastically different zip codes, and in all likelihood, they will have drastically different levels of success. Or alternately, take two people with very different DNA attributes and put them in the same zip code, and they will be more likely to be similarly successful compared to their DNA doppelgangers. 

Look at the map. Zip codes don't cover that big of an area in a metro. But they can make a huge difference, even within Overland Park.

Some may argue that the cause goes the other way - that the zip codes are defined by the residents and their choices. However, it's not hard to show that factors within a given zip code far exceed the ability of the current residents to control. The causes of ills in a neighborhood are never simple or few.

What good is this information? If we want to transform lives both now and eternally, we need to understand how important it is to transform structures that so strongly influence those lives. "Jesus loves you" rings hollow if we aren't addressing the factors of success in this life, too.

Missionaries have thought this way for years. They learned that people are less interested in the gospel when they're starving or sick. And so, feeding and medical services became a normal part of missionary endeavors.

Tags: code, dna, gospel, missionary, success, zip