Moving Beyond Income: Neighborhood Structure, Household Behavior, and Children's Health in the United States

Using insights from economics, pediatrics, psychology, and sociology, this paper examines the effects of income, income inequality, participation in religious services, maternal health, breastfeeding, household smoking, neighborhood characteristics, and racial/ethnic composition of population on child health. Using aggregate data on children's health and well-being for 50 U.S. states derived from the National Survey of Children's Health (NSCH, 2005), we document the following results: (1) neighborhood characteristics are a more powerful predictor of children's health than income; (2) there is a large effect of mother's health on children's health; (3) the independent effect of income inequality on children's health vary across domains of child health outcomes, as some aspects of child health (mental health) are more responsive to the immediate environment of family and neighborhood than others; (4) breastfeeding has beneficial effect on children's health, while household smoking has negative effect on children's health and well-being; and (5) childrens who participate in religious services at least once a week have less socio-emotional difficulties compared to children who do not.

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Selected Paper 174643

 Record created 2017-04-01, last modified 2020-10-28

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