Income diversity and neighborhood variation in low birth weight rates, Chicago, 1990-2006: Results using longitudinal and cross-sectional measures


Although increased risk for adverse birth outcomes has been associated with neighborhood socioeconomic disadvantage, most studies have used cross-sectional measures to account for neighborhood context. Consequently, dynamic neighborhood processes that may influence adverse birth outcomes are not fully understood. In this study, a longitudinal measure of socioeconomic change was used to explore variation in low birth weight (LBW) rates between 1990 and 2006 in Chicago neighborhoods. A crosss-ectional measure of neighborhood socioeconomic characteristics was then used to compare the LBW rates across Chicago neighborhoods during the same time frame to determine whether the cross-sectional measure would capture the same nuances in LBW variation as the longitudinal measure. Consistent with previous studies, both measures identified higher low birth weight rates in neighborhoods entrenched in poverty during the study period. However, the longitudinal measure showed that mothers residing in low income neighborhoods with high concentrations of immigrants had LBW rates that were lower than mothers residing in high income neighborhoods. Our results suggest that while cross-sectional measures of neighborhood socioeconomic context may capture global variations in low birth weight rates, longitudinal measures may illuminate subtleties between neighborhoods that might provide an opportunity for targeted policies to reduce adverse maternal and child health outcomes.

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Kubo, J. and Grigsby-Toussaint, D. (2013) Income diversity and neighborhood variation in low birth weight rates, Chicago, 1990-2006: Results using longitudinal and cross-sectional measures. Open Journal of Preventive Medicine, 3, 454-459. doi: 10.4236/ojpm.2013.37061.

Conflicts of Interest

The authors declare no conflicts of interest.


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