Health Risk and the Rent Gap: Changing Birth Outcomes for Low-income Women in Gentrifying Neighborhoods

Authors: Sara McLafferty*, University of Illinois
Topics: Medical and Health Geography, Gender, Geographic Information Science and Systems
Keywords: health inequalities, gentrification, women's health
Session Type: Paper
Day: 4/5/2019
Start / End Time: 9:55 AM / 11:35 AM
Room: Marshall West, Marriott, Mezzanine Level
Presentation File: No File Uploaded


Gentrification is transforming urban neighborhoods, re-shaping social interactions and experiences, access to resources and services, and environmental exposures for low-income residents who remain. Changes in neighborhood contextual characteristics and sociodemographic composition have wide-ranging implications for lives, livelihoods, and health and well-being. On the one hand, health may improve for low-income residents who remain in gentrifying neighborhoods if access to jobs and high-quality services increases and environmental quality improves. Conversely, health may decline as low-income residents face higher costs for housing, food, and other necessities and reduced access to essential income-based services, and if opportunities for positive and supportive social interaction diminish. This research examines changes over time since 2000 in birth outcomes for low-income mothers (shown by Medicaid coverage) who live in gentrifying neighborhoods of New York City. A large dataset comprising all births in New York City from 2000-2015 identifies maternal and infant characteristics geocoded to the mother’s census tract of residence. Spatiotemporal methods are used to visualize and analyze changes in births and birth outcomes over time and to compare trends for mothers living in gentrifying and non-gentrifying neighborhoods. Results reveal varying trends within and between these types of neighborhoods that reflect context-specific shifting housing, environmental, and social circumstances.

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