Ghettoizing Outdoor Advertising: Disadvantage and Ad Panel Density in Black Neighborhoods


This study investigated correlates of outdoor advertising panel density in predominantly African American neighborhoods in New York City. Research shows that black neighborhoods have more outdoor advertising space than white neighborhoods, and these spaces disproportionately market alcohol and tobacco advertisements. Thus, understanding the factors associated with outdoor advertising panel density has important implications for public health. We linked 2000 census data with property data at the census block group level to investigate two neighborhood-level determinants of ad density: income level and physical decay. Results showed that block groups were exposed to an average of four ad spaces per 1,000 residents and that vacant lot square footage was a significant positive predictor of ad density. An inverse relationship between median household income and ad density did not reach significance, suggesting that relative affluence did not protect black neighborhoods from being targeted for outdoor advertisements.

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Research was supported by a grant from the Department of Defense, The U.S. Army Medical Research and Materiel Command: W81XWH- 041-0829. We are required to indicate that the views, opinions and findings contained in this report are those of the authors and should not be construed as an official Department of Defense position, policy or decision unless so designated by other documentation. We would like to thank Ghairunisa Galeta for her assistance in data collection, and Meghan Jernigan and Dorothy Louis for assistance with manuscript preparation.

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Correspondence to Naa Oyo A. Kwate.

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Kwate and Lee are with the Department of Sociomedical Sciences, Mailman School of Public Health, Columbia University, New York, NY, USA.

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Kwate, N.O.A., Lee, T.H. Ghettoizing Outdoor Advertising: Disadvantage and Ad Panel Density in Black Neighborhoods. J Urban Health 84, 21–31 (2007).

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  • African American/black
  • Neighborhoods
  • Outdoor advertising
  • Disorder.