People living in highly black concentrated neighborhoods more likely to report their health as poor

October 20, 2006

In a study examining the relationship between racial/ethnic neighborhood concentration and self-reported health, researchers at Columbia University's Mailman School of Public Health found that individuals living in neighborhoods with a high concentration of Blacks were twice as likely to report poor health when compared to their counterparts living in neighborhoods with a lower concentration of Blacks.

Based on data from more than 2,800 people who self-identified as white, black, Hispanic, or Asian, this is the first study to examine the effects of racial/ethnic neighborhood concentration and self-reported health in New York City.

People living in highly Black concentrated neighborhoods were more likely to report their health as poor (27%) when compared to counterparts living in low (17%) and medium Black concentrated neighborhoods (22%). Living in a neighborhood with a high concentration of Blacks, regardless of individuals' race or ethnicity, education, income or access to health insurance resulted in a twofold increased chance that residents would report poor health. This finding persisted even after additional adjustments for the socioeconomic circumstances of the neighborhoods and the individual's perception of their own neighborhoods.

"We used proportion of Black residents living in a zip code as a measure of residential segregation. Residential segregation is the damaging form of racial discrimination in this country and one that affects everyone regardless of their race or ethnicity." said Luisa N. Borrell, DDS, PhD, assistant professor of Epidemiology at the Mailman School of Public Health and co-author of the study. "This study demonstrates that poor self-reported health was associated with patterns of concentration of Blacks in a neighborhood. Our findings also suggest that individuals living in the most concentrated neighborhoods were almost two times more likely to perceive their health as poor compared to those living in less concentrated neighborhoods," according to Kellee White, MPH, doctoral student in the Department of Epidemiology at the Mailman School of Public Health and study co-author. "Moreover, segregated neighborhoods tend to suffer from concentrated poverty, economic disinvestment, and a lack of health resources. It is important to continue to determine the neighborhood elements that may facilitate or impede health."

The study was based on information from the New York City Social Indicator Survey and U.S. Census. Administered since 1997, the NYC-SIS is a biennial survey that measures individual and family well-being on a range of social and economic living conditions, adequacy of governmental services, and satisfaction and perception of the city.

"Although the deleterious effects of residential segregation on health are not well-understood, residential segregation has implications for most of the disparities of interest in the U.S., such as racial/ethnic, socioeconomic position, and geographic region," observed Dr. Borrell.

Source: Columbia University's Mailman School of Public Health

Explore further: In America's poorest communities, a greater risk of child abuse deaths

Related Stories

Home neighborhood motivates older people to physical activity

March 30, 2017

A recent study conducted at the Gerontology Research Center of the University of Jyväskylä shows that walk-friendly environmental design may provide opportunities for physical activity in old age. However, especially when ...

Rise in premiums lays bare two Americas on health care

February 21, 2017

Michael Schwarz is a self-employed business owner who buys his own health insurance. The subsidized coverage "Obamacare" offers provides protection from life's unpredictable changes and freedom to pursue his vocation, he ...

How your neighborhood may impact your health

March 8, 2017

How physically active are you? It might depend, in part, on what type of neighborhood you live in, says Adriana Zuniga-Teran, a postdoctoral research associate in the University of Arizona's Udall Center for Studies in Public ...

Recommended for you

'Diet' products can make you fat, study shows

April 25, 2017

High-fat foods are often the primary target when fighting obesity, but sugar-laden "diet" foods could be contributing to unwanted weight gain as well, according to a new study from the University of Georgia.

0 comments

Please sign in to add a comment. Registration is free, and takes less than a minute. Read more

Click here to reset your password.
Sign in to get notified via email when new comments are made.