Moms, Place, and Low Birth Weight Part 2: Does Place Matter?

Blog post by Kit Frohardt-Lane; Data Driven Detroit
April 2015

Data Driven Detroit (D3)   (Detroit)

This is the second in a three-part series examining correlates of low birth weight in babies born in 2010, 2011, and 2012 in Detroit, Wayne County outside of Detroit, Oakland County, and Macomb County. The first blog post looked at the associations between birth weight and the mother’s age, education, marital status, ethnicity, and race; the level of prenatal care she received; and the area of residence for women within the city of Detroit. This second blog post compares the findings for Detroit to those for the “Metro Region” — defined as Wayne County outside of Detroit as well as Oakland County, and Macomb County — on the same characteristics, in effect asking, “Does place matter?”

A glance at the average rates of low birth weight for single births (we exclude multiple births) in Detroit (12%) and the Metro Region (6%) tells us that, yes, place does matter, but it does not tell us why or for whom the differences occur. So here we’ll look at whether knowing place of residence (Detroit or the Metro Region) adds appreciably to what we already know; namely, that the overall LBW rate for single births (singletons) is twice as high in Detroit as in the Metro Region and how the factors listed above (from the first blog post) were related to birth weight in Detroit.  For example, in the first blog post we showed that, in general, as educational attainment increased for Detroit women, the rate of low birth weight rate decreased.  Does the LBW rate for Metro Region women follow the same pattern but at a lower rate?