Neighborhood Crime, Deprivation and Preterm Birth
Lynne Messer, University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill
Jay S. Kaufman, University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill
Barbara A. Laraia, University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill
David A. Savitz, University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill
This study addresses two questions about how the neighborhood crime and deprivation environments may contribute to the disparity in preterm births between black and white non-Hispanic women for 14,758 live births within 131 Raleigh NC census block groups (1999-2001). It finds first that black and white women live in distinct neighborhood environments, as approximated by their neighborhood deprivation score and block group violent, theft, property and vice crime counts (i.e., almost 50% of black women live in block groups with very high counts of violent crime compared with under 10% of white women). Second, it finds the odds of preterm birth associated with crime (by type) and deprivation to be different for black and white women in this sample, after adjusting for individual and neighborhood covariates. These findings suggest differential neighborhood exposure may contribute to the preterm burden borne by black non-Hispanic women in this country.