Graduation Year

2004

Document Type

Thesis

Degree

M.A.

Degree Granting Department

Geography

Major Professor

Reader, Steven.

Keywords

medical geography, deprivation, multilevel modeling, low birth weight

Abstract

The associations of neighborhood level socioeconomic deprivation and low birth weight were investigated among 1,030,443 singleton live births in the State of Florida between the years 1992 and 1997. Census data for per capita income, unemployment, percent of individuals living below the poverty line, vehicle ownership and educational attainment were used as neighborhood level indicators of socioeconomic status. Additionally, these variables were combined into a deprivation index to measure relative deprivation of neighborhoods across Florida. Birth data were linked to census block groups and tracts, which were used as proxies for low birth weight. Multilevel models were used to model the relationship between the deprivation index and each of the indicators and low birth weight, while adjusting for individual level risk factors.

After adjusting for individual level factors no consistent relationship between neighborhood socioeconomic measures and low birth weight could be established. The relationship between neighborhood socioeconomic factors and low birth weight varied across ethnic categories. Among White Non-Hispanics and Hispanics measures of socioeconomic deprivation had a small association with low birth weight. However, for Black Non-Hispanics neighborhood measures had little consistency in predicting the occurrence of low birth weight

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