169976 Urban Sprawl, Racial Segregation and Black Infant Mortality

Wednesday, October 29, 2008

Russell Lopez, MCRP ScD , School of Public Health, Boston University, Boston, MA
Studies from the 1990s suggested that Black-White racial residential segregation was associated with increased risk of Black infant mortality. While other studies have found an associated between urban sprawl and the overall health of the population, little work has been done on the effects of sprawl on African Americans.

Year 2000 infant mortality data were downloaded from the CDC. Other data were downloaded or derived from the US Census. Metropolitan areas with at least 100,000 Black persons in 2000 were included in the study. The dependent variable was the African American infant mortality rate (actual range 5.95 - 19.6). Independent variables included percent Blacks in poverty, percent total population that was Black, urban sprawl (UAR Sprawl Index, potential range 0 - 100), Black-White segregation (Dissimilarity Index, potential range 0 - 100). The models were weighted by the total number of Blacks in a metropolitan area.

In the final regression model, both urban sprawl (.07075, 95% CI = .0707, .0708) and segregation (.0581, 95% CI = .0580, .0583), were associated with a higher Black infant mortality rate. In a model with a sprawl-segregation interaction term, the interaction term was also associated with a higher Black infant mortality rate (.00223, 95% CI = .0022, .00224).

Sprawl and segregation were independently associated with increased Black infant mortality. This may suggest that inner city populations should be concerned about urban sprawl and that the overall nature of the built and social environments continue to have a negative impact on the health of US African American populations.

Learning Objectives:
1. Discuss the association between segregation, urban sprawl and Black infant mortality 2. Assess the evidence linking urban sprawl and segregation to infant mortality. 3. Identify potential causal pathways between metropolitan level social factors and health. 4. Identify how the built environment may be associated with the health of inner city populations.

Keywords: African American, Environmental Justice

Presenting author's disclosure statement:

Qualified on the content I am responsible for because: all aspects of the research and presentation
Any relevant financial relationships? No

I agree to comply with the American Public Health Association Conflict of Interest and Commercial Support Guidelines, and to disclose to the participants any off-label or experimental uses of a commercial product or service discussed in my presentation.