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Urban Poverty and Health in Developing Countries: Household and Neighborhood Effects

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  • Mark R. Montgomery
  • Paul C. Hewett

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    Abstract

    In the U.S. and other high-income countries, where most of the population lives in urban areas, there is intense scholarly and program interest in the effects of household and neighborhood living standards on health. Yet very few studies of developing-country cities have examined these issues. This paper investigates whether in these cities, the health of women and young children is influenced by both household and neighborhood standards of living. Using data from the urban samples of some 85 Demographic and Health surveys, and modelling living standards using factor-analytic MIMIC methods, we find, first, that the neighborhoods of poor households are more heterogeneous than is often asserted. To judge from our results, it appears that as a rule, poor urban households do not tend to live in uniformly poor communities; indeed, about 1 in 10 of a poor household's neighbors is relatively affluent, belonging to the upper quartile of the urban distribution of living standards. Do household and neighborhood living standards influence health? Applying multivariate models with controls for other socioeconomic variables, we discover that household living standards have a substantial influence on three measures of health: unmet need for modern contraception; birth attendance by doctors, nurses, or trained midwives; and children's height for age. Neighborhood living standards exert significant additional influence on health in many of the surveys we examine, especially in birth attendance. There is considerable evidence, then, indicating that both household and neighborhood living standards can make a substantively important difference to health.

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    File URL: http://www.sunysb.edu/economics/research/papers/2004/04-01.pdf
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    Bibliographic Info

    Paper provided by Stony Brook University, Department of Economics in its series Department of Economics Working Papers with number 04-01.

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    Length: 50 pages.
    Date of creation: 04 Jan 2004
    Date of revision:
    Handle: RePEc:nys:sunysb:04-01

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    Related research

    Keywords: poverty; health; developing countries; urban; factor analysis; neighborhood;

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    References

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    1. John B. Casterline & Steven W. Sinding, 2000. "Unmet Need for Family Planning in Developing Countries and Implications for Population Policy," Population and Development Review, The Population Council, Inc., vol. 26(4), pages 691-723.
    2. Sahn, David E. & Stifel, David C., 2000. "Poverty Comparisons Over Time and Across Countries in Africa," World Development, Elsevier, vol. 28(12), pages 2123-2155, December.
    3. Deon Filmer & Lant Pritchett, 1999. "The Effect of Household Wealth on Educational Attainment: Evidence from 35 Countries," Population and Development Review, The Population Council, Inc., vol. 25(1), pages 85-120.
    4. McCulloch, Andrew, 2003. "An examination of social capital and social disorganisation in neighbourhoods in the British household panel study," Social Science & Medicine, Elsevier, vol. 56(7), pages 1425-1438, April.
    5. Mark Montgomery & Michele Gragnolati & Kathleen Burke & Edmundo Paredes, 2000. "Measuring living standards with proxy variables," Demography, Springer, vol. 37(2), pages 155-174, May.
    6. Gilson, Lucy, 2003. "Trust and the development of health care as a social institution," Social Science & Medicine, Elsevier, vol. 56(7), pages 1453-1468, April.
    7. Wen, Ming & Browning, Christopher R. & Cagney, Kathleen A., 2003. "Poverty, affluence, and income inequality: neighborhood economic structure and its implications for health," Social Science & Medicine, Elsevier, vol. 57(5), pages 843-860, September.
    8. Nan Marie Astone & Constance A. Nathanson & Robert Schoen & Young J. Kim, 1999. "Family Demography, Social Theory, and Investment in Social Capital," Population and Development Review, The Population Council, Inc., vol. 25(1), pages 1-31.
    9. Narayan Sastry, 1996. "Community characteristics, individual and household attributes, and child survival in brazil," Demography, Springer, vol. 33(2), pages 211-229, May.
    10. Anne Pebley & Noreen Goldman & Germán Rodríguez, 1996. "Prenatal and delivery care and childhood immunization in guatemala: Do family and community matter?," Demography, Springer, vol. 33(2), pages 231-247, May.
    11. McDade, Thomas W. & Adair, Linda S., 2001. "Defining the "urban" in urbanization and health: a factor analysis approach," Social Science & Medicine, Elsevier, vol. 53(1), pages 55-70, July.
    12. Åberg Yngwe, Monica & Fritzell, Johan & Lundberg, Olle & Diderichsen, Finn & Burström, Bo, 2003. "Exploring relative deprivation: Is social comparison a mechanism in the relation between income and health?," Social Science & Medicine, Elsevier, vol. 57(8), pages 1463-1473, October.
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    Cited by:
    1. Jehu-Appiah, Caroline & Aryeetey, Genevieve & Spaan, Ernst & Agyepong, Irene & Baltussen, Rob, 2010. "Efficiency, equity and feasibility of strategies to identify the poor: An application to premium exemptions under National Health Insurance in Ghana," Health Policy, Elsevier, vol. 95(2-3), pages 166-173, May.

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