Journal of Urban Health

, Volume 91, Issue 4, pp 648–660 | Cite as

Self-Rated Health and Residential Segregation: How Does Race/Ethnicity Matter?

  • Joseph GibbonsEmail author
  • Tse-Chuan Yang


Despite recent declines, racial segregation remains a detriment to minority neighborhoods. However, existing research is inconclusive as to the effects racial segregation has on health. Some argue that racial segregation is related to poor health outcomes, whereas others suspect that racial segregation may actually lead to improved health for some minority communities. Even less is known about whether minority access to white neighborhoods improves health. We address these gaps with individual data from the 2010 Public Health Management Corporation’s Southeastern Pennsylvania Household Health Survey and census tract data from the 2010 Decennial Census and the 2006–2010 American Community Survey. We implement logistic multilevel models to determine whether and how a resident’s self-rated health is affected by the racial/ethnic segregation of their neighborhoods. Our key finding suggests that the effects of segregation on self-rated health depend on an individual’s race/ethnicity, with blacks and Latino residents most likely to experience adverse effects. Particularly, minorities living in predominantly white communities have a significantly higher likelihood to report poor/fair health than they would in segregated minority neighborhoods. These findings make clear that access to white neighborhoods is not sufficient to improve minority health; fuller neighborhood integration is necessary to ensure all have health equity.


Racial segregation Self-rated health Multilevel modeling Philadelphia 



We would like to thank Stephen Woods, the social sciences librarian at Penn State University, for helping us to obtain the data for analysis.


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Copyright information

© The New York Academy of Medicine 2014

Authors and Affiliations

  1. 1.Department of SociologyUniversity at Albany, SUNYAlbanyUSA

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