Objectives: In this study we aimed to test the associations between area-level ethnic density and health for Pakistani and White British residents of Bradford, England.
Design: The sample consisted of 8610 mothers and infant taking part in the Born in Bradford cohort. Ethnic density was measured as the percentage of Pakistani, White British or South Asian residents living in a Lower Super Output Area. Health outcomes included birth weight, preterm birth and smoking during pregnancy. Associations between ethnic density and health were tested in multilevel regression models, adjusted for individual covariates and area deprivation.
Results: In the Pakistani sample, higher own ethnic density was associated with lower birth weight (β = -0.82, 95% CI: -1.63, -0.02), and higher South Asian density was associated with a lower probability of smoking during pregnancy (OR = 0.99, 95% CI: 0.98, 1.00). Pakistani women in areas with 50-70% South Asian residents were less likely to smoke than those living in areas with less than 10% South Asian residents (OR = 0.39, 95% CI: 0.16, 0.97). In the White British sample, neither birth weight nor preterm birth was associated with own ethnic density. The probability of smoking during pregnancy was lower in areas with 10-29.99% compared to <10% South Asian density (OR = 0.79, 95% CI: 0.64, 0.98).
Conclusion: In this sample, ethnic density was associated with lower odds of smoking during pregnancy but not with higher birth weight or lower odds of preterm birth. Possibly, high levels of social disadvantage inhibit positive effects of ethnic density on health.
Keywords: England; Pakistani; birth outcomes; ethnic density; multilevel; smoking.