Strong Upward Neighborhood Mobility and Reduced Preterm Birth in California: A Sibling Design Approach

Tim-Allen Bruckner , University of California, Irvine
Jennifer Buher Kane, University of California, Irvine
Samantha Gailey, University of California, Irvine

Much cross-sectional work reports positive associations between neighborhood disadvantage and illness. We move beyond a limited cross-sectional approach and exploit a sibling-linked dataset in California to test whether mothers who move from a very high to a very low disadvantaged neighborhood exhibit a lower than expected risk of preterm birth. We retrieved data on 461,061 sibling pairs (i.e., 922,122 births total) to mothers in California from 2005 to 2010. We linked mother’s address at two times (i.e., two sibling birth dates) to a census-derived indicator of neighborhood disadvantage. Methods controlled for mother’s risk of preterm birth before the move. As hypothesized, strong upward mobility (relative to no mobility) varies inversely with the subsequent risk of PTB of the second sibling (p < .001). Mothers with strong upward neighborhood mobility appear to show an upward perinatal health trajectory above and beyond what is expected prior to her move.

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 Presented in Session 250. Spatial Inequality in the United States