Association of neighborhood opportunity and pediatric hospitalization rates in the United States

J Hosp Med. 2024 Feb;19(2):120-125. doi: 10.1002/jhm.13252. Epub 2023 Dec 10.


We examined associations between a validated, multidimensional measure of social determinants of health and population-based hospitalization rates among children <18 years across 18 states from the 2017 Healthcare Cost and Utilization Project State Inpatient Databases and the US Census. The exposure was ZIP code-level Child Opportunity Index (COI), a composite measure of neighborhood resources and conditions that matter for children's health. The cohort included 614,823 hospitalizations among a population of 29,244,065 children (21.02 hospitalizations per 1000). Adjusted hospitalization rates decreased significantly and in a stepwise fashion as COI increased (p < .001 for each), from 26.56 per 1000 (95% confidence interval [CI] 26.41-26.71) in very low COI areas to 14.76 per 1000 (95% CI 14.66-14.87) in very high COI areas (incidence rate ratio 1.8; 95% CI 1.78-1.81). Decreasing neighborhood opportunity was associated with increasing hospitalization rates among children in 18 US states. These data underscore the importance of social context and community-engaged solutions for health systems aiming to eliminate care inequities.

MeSH terms

  • Child
  • Health Care Costs*
  • Health Resources
  • Hospitalization*
  • Hospitals, Pediatric
  • Humans
  • United States / epidemiology