Online Program

Exploring the Correlations Between Health and Community Socioeconomic Status in Chicago

Wednesday, November 4, 2015 : 8:50 a.m. - 9:10 a.m.

Susan Longworth, Community Development and Policy Studies, Federal Reserve Bank of Chicago, Chicago, IL
Much research demonstrates that where you live – and the socioeconomic conditions present in that place – determine individual-level health outcomes.  Based on the premise that individual stressors tend to aggregate themselves into communities with poor socioeconomic status (SES), leads to the conclusion that “where you live determines how long you live.”  Using community level data available through the City of Chicago Data Portal as well as aggregated census tract level economic data compiled by the Federal Reserve Bank of Chicago, we explored community-level SES conditions and corresponding health outcomes in Chicago’s 77 communities to derive a localized perspective on a commonly accepted hypothesis that the socioeconomic conditions of a place contribute to the health outcomes of residents.  

Our analysis includes health outcomes that are influenced by one’s environment, including: infant mortality, low birth weight, prenatal care, preterm births, lead screening, lead poisoning, teen birth, firearm-related casualties, cancers, diabetes, stroke, tuberculosis.  The socioeconomic variables included in the analysis relate to housing, income and education, workforce, racial and ethnic composition and ‘community climate.’

The first level of analysis correlates the socioeconomic data with health outcomes.  Then, both the community-level SES and health outcomes are sorted into quartiles to explore whether health outcomes improve or deteriorate with various isolated SE factors. Next, Chicago’s communities are indexed by SES quartile outcomes with the corresponding health quartile outcome to provide an illustration of whether health outcomes improve as SES status improves, and vice versa.   

Returning to the hypothesis that community SES determines individual health outcomes, we look for communities that disprove this hypothesis by outperforming their SES quartile by at least one health quartile.  Finding two socioeconomically similar, contiguous communities that have different health outcomes, we conducted field interviews with community development and health practitioners in those communities. 

Learning Areas:

Diversity and culture
Other professions or practice related to public health

Learning Objectives:
Discuss the relationship between community socioeconomic status and health.

Keyword(s): Community Development, Community-Based Partnership & Collaboration

Presenting author's disclosure statement:

Qualified on the content I am responsible for because: I have more than 20 years of community and economic development experience and have been heavily involved with the Federal Reserve Banks' efforts to explore the relationship between public health and community development.
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.