Housing and Birth Outcomes: How Neighborhood Housing Quality and Affordability Affect Birth Outcomes in New York City

Client: Housing and Birth Outcomes: How Neighborhood Housing Quality and Affordability Affect Birth Outcomes in New York City
Faculty: Tod Mijanovich
Team: Amy Brisson, Caitlin Murphy, Erik Parks, Carly Rothman, Zachary Townsend
Year: 2012
In the United States, birth outcomes vary widely among different socioeconomic groups. Some of these differences have been linked to the levels of stress experienced by pregnant women, which can seriously compromise the health of newborns. However, few researchers have studied how stress related to housing issues, such as the affordability, quality, and safety of the home, is linked to poor birth outcomes. Using longitudinal data on housing quality, the Capstone team explored the connection between housing and birth outcomes in New York City – a place where low-income African American mothers experience significantly higher rates of low birth weight and preterm birth than other mothers, and where low-income families pay an extremely high proportion of income on rent, despite living in antiquated, dilapidated buildings. The team’s research examines whether improvements in housing affordability and quality are associated with improved birth outcomes.