Neighborhood socioeconomic status, maternal race and preterm delivery: a case-control study

Ann Epidemiol. 2002 Aug;12(6):410-8. doi: 10.1016/s1047-2797(01)00249-6.


Purpose: To explore associations between neighborhood socioeconomic context and preterm delivery, independent of maternal and family socioeconomic status, in African-American and white women.

Methods: A case-control study of African-American (n = 417) and white (n = 1244) women delivering infants at the University of California, San Francisco's Moffitt Hospital, between 1980 and 1990.

Results: Neighborhood socioeconomic contexts were associated with preterm delivery but associations were non-linear and varied with race/ethnicity. For African-American women, living in a neighborhood with either high or low median household income was associated with an increased risk of spontaneous preterm delivery, as was living in a neighborhood with large increases or decreases in the proportion of African-American residents during the study decade. Residence in neighborhoods with high and low rates of male unemployment was associated with a decreased risk of preterm delivery. Among white women only large positive and negative changes in neighborhood male unemployment were associated with risk of preterm delivery.

Conclusions: Neighborhood factors and changes in neighborhoods over time are related to preterm delivery, although the mechanisms linking local environments to maternal risk remain to be specified.

Publication types

  • Research Support, Non-U.S. Gov't

MeSH terms

  • Adult
  • African Americans / statistics & numerical data*
  • California / epidemiology
  • Case-Control Studies
  • Female
  • Humans
  • Infant, Newborn
  • Male
  • Maternal Welfare*
  • Obstetric Labor, Premature / ethnology*
  • Pregnancy
  • Pregnancy Outcome / ethnology*
  • Regression Analysis
  • Risk Assessment
  • Risk Factors
  • Social Environment
  • Socioeconomic Factors*
  • Whites / statistics & numerical data*