The Relation of Neighborhood Racial and Income Polarity to Preterm Birth Rates in Chicago

Aaron J. Weiss*, Margarita Reina, Nana Matoba, Nik Prachand, James W. Collins

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

1 Scopus citations


Objectives: To investigate the extent to which spatial social polarization is associated with preterm birth among urban African-American and non-Latinx white women, and whether prenatal care modifies this relationship. Methods: We performed multilevel logistic regression analyses on a 2013–2017 dataset of Chicago vital records (N = 29,179) with appended Index of Concentration at the Extremes (ICE) values for race and income. Results: Women who resided in the bottom ICE quintile neighborhoods had a preterm birth rate of 11.5%, compared to 7.3% for those who live in the top ICE quintile areas; adjusted odds ratio (aOR) equaled 1.72 (95% confidence interval [CI] = 1.39, 2.12). This disparity widened for early (< 34 weeks) preterm birth rates, aOR = 2.60 (1.77, 3.81). These associations persisted among women with adequate prenatal care utilization. Conclusions for Practice: Spatial polarization of race and income in urban African-American and non-Latinx white women’s residential environment is strongly associated with preterm birth rates, even among those who receive adequate prenatal care. These findings highlight the benefit of using ICE to contextualize the impact of urban neighborhood-level characteristics on preterm birth rates.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)556-565
Number of pages10
JournalMaternal and child health journal
Issue number3
StatePublished - Mar 2023


  • African-American
  • Prenatal care
  • Preterm birth
  • Social polarization
  • Urban health

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Public Health, Environmental and Occupational Health
  • Obstetrics and Gynecology
  • Epidemiology
  • Pediatrics, Perinatology, and Child Health


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