Health and Concentrated Disadvantage in Later Life: Evidence from the Health and Retirement Study

Stacie Carr, Princeton University

Not only are adults who live in racially segregated areas exposed to disadvantage on myriad levels over the lifetime, but, in aging, they also may become even more reliant upon the resources embedded in their neighborhoods. This paper uses multilevel analysis to study residential segregation, concentrated disadvantage and the health of adults in mid- to late-life. Using data from the 2004 Health and Retirement Survey, I analyze the extent to which health disparities between black and white adults over age 50 are associated with neighborhood-level concentrated disadvantage. Random intercept models show that neighborhood-level factors are associated with both fair or poor health and chronic illness. Concentrated disadvantage is significant and in the expected direction, although the magnitude is small. Findings are consistent with previously identified connections between education and health, suggesting that improving educational outcomes for students in highly disadvantaged areas may yield enduring health benefits.

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Presented in Session 101: Disparities in Health and Place Relationships