Spatial Disparities: The Role of Nativity in Neighborhood Exposure to Alcohol and Tobacco Retailers

J Immigr Minor Health. 2022 Aug;24(4):945-955. doi: 10.1007/s10903-021-01277-6. Epub 2021 Sep 30.


Studies of retail environment, one of the social determinants of health, document racial/ethnic disparities in exposure to alcohol and tobacco (A and T) retailers, but have largely overlooked nativity. We examined associations between A and T retailer density and rates of foreign-born Latinx and foreign-born Asian residents in California census tracts (N = 7888), using spatial regressions and controlling for population and ecological confounders (e.g., population density, zoning, residential instability, urbanicity). Socio-demographic data came from the American Community Survey (2012-2016); census tract density of A and T retailers came from geocoded addresses from state license data for off-sale alcohol distributors and purchased data on tobacco retailers from a commercial provider. Models predicting A and T tract retailer density showed that the rate of foreign-born Latinx residents was associated with higher tobacco retailer density but lower alcohol retailer density, and demonstrate no significant associations between rate of foreign-born Asian residents tobacco and alcohol retail density. Retail environment could contribute to observed declines in immigrant health over time in the US and across generations.

Keywords: Contextual risk factors; Immigrant health; Neighborhoods; Retail environment; Social determinants of health.

MeSH terms

  • Commerce
  • Humans
  • Residence Characteristics
  • Tobacco Products*
  • Tobacco Use
  • Tobacco*