Journal of Urban Health

, Volume 90, Issue 2, pp 197–211 | Cite as

Neighborhood Socioeconomic Status in Relation to Preterm Birth in a U.S. Cohort of Black Women

  • Ghasi S. Phillips
  • Lauren A. Wise
  • Janet W. Rich-Edwards
  • Meir J. Stampfer
  • Lynn Rosenberg


This study examines the association between neighborhood socioeconomic status (SES) and preterm birth among U.S. Black women. A composite variable for neighborhood SES, derived from 7 U.S. Census Bureau indicators, was assessed in relation to self-reported preterm birth (505 spontaneous and 452 medically indicated) among 6,390 women in the Black Women’s Health Study who delivered singleton births during 1995–2003. The odds ratio (OR) for preterm birth, comparing the lowest (most deprived) to the highest (least deprived) quartiles of neighborhood SES, was 0.98 (95 % CI, 0.80, 1.20) after adjustment for individual-level characteristics. Low neighborhood SES was not associated with spontaneous or medically indicated preterm birth overall or within strata of maternal age, education, or geographic region. The only significant finding was higher odds of medically indicated preterm birth associated with low neighborhood SES among unmarried women. Low neighborhood SES was not materially associated with preterm birth in this study of U.S. Black women.


African Americans Premature birth Residence characteristics Social class 



The authors are grateful to the participants and staff of the Black Women’s Health Study for their contributions.


This work was supported by National Cancer Institute grant R01 CA058420 and by Association of Schools of Public Health grant S324-16/18 given through the ASPH/CDC/ATSDR Cooperative agreement.

At the time the study was conducted, Ghasi Phillips was a doctoral student at the Harvard School of Public Health, Boston, Massachusetts.


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Copyright information

© The New York Academy of Medicine 2012

Authors and Affiliations

  • Ghasi S. Phillips
    • 1
  • Lauren A. Wise
    • 2
  • Janet W. Rich-Edwards
    • 1
    • 3
  • Meir J. Stampfer
    • 1
    • 4
  • Lynn Rosenberg
    • 2
  1. 1.Department of EpidemiologyHarvard School of Public HealthBostonUSA
  2. 2.Slone Epidemiology CenterBoston UniversityBostonUSA
  3. 3.Connors Center for Women’s Health and Gender BiologyBrigham and Women’s HospitalBostonUSA
  4. 4.Department of Medicine, Channing LaboratoryBrigham and Women’s Hospital and Harvard Medical SchoolBostonUSA

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