Neighborhoods and Health
Variations in neighborhood conditions are critical to health outcomes and program options in America. In almost all urban areas, serious health problems are highly concentrated in a fairly small number of distressed neighborhoods, yet only a handful of U.S. cities now have data that allow them to analyze health problems constructively at the neighborhood level. This NNIP cross-site research project was designed to take advantage of some of the best sources of data on this topic that are now available.
The project had two major purposes:
(1) to contribute to expanding the range and usefulness of health indicators available at the neighborhood level in America's localities, and
(2) to gain greater understanding of the relationships between characteristics of neighborhoods and health outcomes. The study sites were Cleveland, Denver, Indianapolis, Oakland, and Providence. Project work was divided into two components.
Site-specific analysis entailed assembling and analyzing new neighborhood-level indicators pertaining to local health issues in each site and using the data to further local health improvement initiatives. The local partners took the lead in this component and the Urban Institute provided guidance to them in the process.
Cross-site analysis entailed researching the changing urban context in each of the five sites, examining ecological relationships between metropolitan and neighborhood conditions and health outcomes in a comparable manner across sites, and developing a neighborhood disparity index. This work was done by Urban Institute staff, with data and guidance provided by the local partners along the way.