Race/Ethnic Differences in Birth Outcomes in Philadelphia: The Role of Residential Segregation, Crime, and Neighborhood-Level Socioeconomic Disparities

Irma T. Elo, University of Pennsylvania
Jennifer Culhane, Drexel University

This paper contributes to the literature on neighborhood context and race/ethnic disparities in birth outcomes. We integrate individual and community-level determinants in a multilevel analysis of preterm and small-for-gestational age births, with a specific focus on the role of residential segregation, crime, and neighborhood deprivation. To date, individual-level socio-demographic variables, health behaviors, health service use, and biomedical conditions have not fully explained race/ethnic differentials in birth outcomes. We base our analysis on 2000 Philadelphia resident live birth records of which approximately 95% were successfully geocoded based on the mothers’ address reported on the birth record. The birth records were merged with block group level measures of residential segregation, (index of dissimilarity, exposure, and isolation), crime rates (measured as property crimes and crimes against persons), and a composite measure of neighborhood deprivation. Individual-level characteristics available from birth certificates are also included. The analyses focuses on non-Hispanics blacks, non-Hispanic whites, and Hispanics.

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Presented in Session 162: Neighborhood Effects on Health