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Health risk and inequitable distribution of liquor stores in African American neighborhood


  • LaVeist, Thomas A.
  • Wallace, John M.


In this paper we examine whether the physical availability of alcohol is greater in predominantly African American communities compared to predominantly white communities as indicated by the presence of off premises liquor stores. We investigate the extent to which the income status of the residents of a community mediates the relationship between community racial composition and alcohol availability; and explore whether the intersection of race and class places low income African American communities at increased risk to have such stores located in their communities. Multivariate analytic techniques are used to examine the relationship between community racial composition, median income of neighborhood residents and per capita number of alcohol outlets in 194 census tracts in Baltimore, Maryland. The analysis found that liquor stores are disproportionately located in predominantly black census tracts, even after controlling for census tract socioeconomic status. Census tracts that are both low income and predominantly African American have substantially more liquor stores per capita than other census tracts. Although it is beyond the scope of the present study, our data reveal significant associations between the presence of liquor stores and the risk of health-related social problems in low income neighborhoods. More research needs to be done on the impact of alcohol on the social, psychological, and physiological health of low income urban populations.

Suggested Citation

  • LaVeist, Thomas A. & Wallace, John M., 2000. "Health risk and inequitable distribution of liquor stores in African American neighborhood," Social Science & Medicine, Elsevier, vol. 51(4), pages 613-617, August.
  • Handle: RePEc:eee:socmed:v:51:y:2000:i:4:p:613-617

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    Cited by:

    1. Mossakowski, Krysia N., 2008. "Is the duration of poverty and unemployment a risk factor for heavy drinking?," Social Science & Medicine, Elsevier, vol. 67(6), pages 947-955, September.
    2. Andrabi, Nafeesa & Khoddam, Rubin & Leventhal, Adam M., 2017. "Socioeconomic disparities in adolescent substance use: Role of enjoyable alternative substance-free activities," Social Science & Medicine, Elsevier, vol. 176(C), pages 175-182.
    3. Brenner, Allison B. & Borrell, Luisa N. & Barrientos-Gutierrez, Tonatiuh & Diez Roux, Ana V., 2015. "Longitudinal associations of neighborhood socioeconomic characteristics and alcohol availability on drinking: Results from the Multi-Ethnic Study of Atherosclerosis (MESA)," Social Science & Medicine, Elsevier, vol. 145(C), pages 17-25.
    4. Kwate, Naa Oyo A. & Goodman, Melody S., 2014. "An empirical analysis of White privilege, social position and health," Social Science & Medicine, Elsevier, vol. 116(C), pages 150-160.
    5. Badland, Hannah & Pearce, Jamie, 2019. "Liveable for whom? Prospects of urban liveability to address health inequities," Social Science & Medicine, Elsevier, vol. 232(C), pages 94-105.
    6. Beaudoin, Christopher E., 2009. "Bonding and bridging neighborliness: An individual-level study in the context of health," Social Science & Medicine, Elsevier, vol. 68(12), pages 2129-2136, June.
    7. Bernard, Paul & Charafeddine, Rana & Frohlich, Katherine L. & Daniel, Mark & Kestens, Yan & Potvin, Louise, 2007. "Health inequalities and place: A theoretical conception of neighbourhood," Social Science & Medicine, Elsevier, vol. 65(9), pages 1839-1852, November.
    8. Karlamangla, Arun S. & Singer, Burton H. & Williams, David R. & Schwartz, Joseph E. & Matthews, Karen A. & Kiefe, Catarina I. & Seeman, Teresa E., 2005. "Impact of socioeconomic status on longitudinal accumulation of cardiovascular risk in young adults: the CARDIA Study (USA)," Social Science & Medicine, Elsevier, vol. 60(5), pages 999-1015, March.
    9. Morton, Cory M., 2013. "The moderating effect of substance abuse service accessibility on the relationship between child maltreatment and neighborhood alcohol availability," Children and Youth Services Review, Elsevier, vol. 35(12), pages 1933-1940.
    10. Hill, Terrence D. & Angel, Ronald J., 2005. "Neighborhood disorder, psychological distress, and heavy drinking," Social Science & Medicine, Elsevier, vol. 61(5), pages 965-975, September.
    11. Gavin Pereira & Lisa Wood & Sarah Foster & Fatima Haggar, 2013. "Access to Alcohol Outlets, Alcohol Consumption and Mental Health," PLOS ONE, Public Library of Science, vol. 8(1), pages 1-6, January.
    12. Theall, Katherine P. & Brett, Zoƫ H. & Shirtcliff, Elizabeth A. & Dunn, Erin C. & Drury, Stacy S., 2013. "Neighborhood disorder and telomeres: Connecting children's exposure to community level stress and cellular response," Social Science & Medicine, Elsevier, vol. 85(C), pages 50-58.


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