Is it Who You are or Where You Live? Residential Segregation and Racial Gaps in Childhood Asthma

56 Pages Posted: 25 Jul 2017 Last revised: 19 Jul 2018

See all articles by Diane Alexander

Diane Alexander

Federal Reserve Bank of Chicago

Janet Currie

Princeton University; National Bureau of Economic Research (NBER); Institute for the Study of Labor (IZA)

Date Written: July 2017

Abstract

Higher asthma rates are one of the more obvious ways that health inequalities between African American and other children are manifested beginning in early childhood. In 2010, black asthma rates were double non-black rates. Some but not all of this difference can be explained by factors such as a higher incidence of low birth weight (LBW) among blacks; however, even conditional on LBW, blacks have a higher incidence of asthma than others. Using a unique data set based on the health records of all children born in New Jersey between 2006 and 2010, we show that when we split the data by whether or not children live in a “black” zip code, this racial difference in the incidence of asthma among LBW children entirely disappears. All LBW children in these zip codes, regardless of race, have a higher incidence of asthma. Our results point to the importance of residential segregation and neighborhoods in explaining persistent racial health disparities.

Suggested Citation

Alexander, Diane and Currie, Janet, Is it Who You are or Where You Live? Residential Segregation and Racial Gaps in Childhood Asthma (July 2017). NBER Working Paper No. w23622. Available at SSRN: https://ssrn.com/abstract=3007503

Diane Alexander (Contact Author)

Federal Reserve Bank of Chicago ( email )

230 South LaSalle Street
Chicago, IL 60604
United States

Janet Currie

Princeton University ( email )

Princeton, NJ 08544-1021
United States
6092587393 (Phone)

HOME PAGE: http://www.princeton.edu/~jcurrie

National Bureau of Economic Research (NBER) ( email )

1050 Massachusetts Avenue
Cambridge, MA 02138
United States

Institute for the Study of Labor (IZA)

P.O. Box 7240
Bonn, D-53072
Germany

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