Using the School Quality Indicators Database to Examine the Relationship Between County-Level School Segregation and Population Health

Katrina M. Walsemann, University of South Carolina
Calley Fisk , University of South Carolina
Adrianne Dues, University of South Carolina

In the United States, stark health inequalities exist across counties. Schools are a key feature of counties and residents often make decisions about where to live based on the local schools. Such decisions may lead to greater school segregation, as privileged White residents look to secure educational advantages for their children. Thus, school segregation may reflect one way that health becomes embedded in geographic places. We constructed county-level data on school segregation using administrative data from all U.S. public schools and linked these to County Health Rankings data. We examined if county-level school segregation relates to two population health indicators – premature mortality and infant mortality – after adjusting for county-level demographic and socioeconomic characteristics. State-fixed effects models revealed a positive association between county-level school segregation – as measured by Black isolation and Theil’s entropy – and infant mortality. A similar association was found between Theil’s entropy and premature mortality.

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 Presented in Session 69. Using Linked Data Sources