Determining Gentrification's Relationship to Low Birthweight in Los Angeles

Joseph Gibbons , San Diego State University
Kyla Thomas, University of Southern California
Audrey N. Beck, San Diego State University
Brian K. Finch, University of Southern California

Low-birthweight has a number of adverse effects on infant outcomes, ranging from developmental issues to mortality. While neighborhood environment has long been associated with birthweight status, little is known about gentrification's relationship to this outcome. Gentrification, defined as the increase of affluent residents into low-income neighborhoods, is feared by some to worsen health outcomes while thought by others to improve these outcomes. This study utilized the California Department of Public Health's Birth Cohort File for 2009-2012, local counts of violent crimes from the Los Angeles Times, the 2000 Census, and the 2006-2010 American Community Survey to investigate the relationship of gentrification to low-birthweight. We found that while gentrifying tracts on their own had no relationship to low birthweight, gentrification did have a significant relationship when accounting for violent crime. These findings call for more research to unpack the causal mechanisms through which gentrification affects birth outcomes.

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 Presented in Session 5. Health & Mortality 1