Socioeconomic Status, Neighborhood, Household Behavior, and Children's Health in the United States: Evidence from Children's Health Survey Data
Using insights from economics, pediatrics, psychology, and sociology, this paper examines the effects of income, income inequality, neighborhood characteristics, maternal health, the participation in religious services, breastfeeding, household smoking, 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) the independent effects 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; (2) neighborhood characteristics are powerful predictors of children's health; (3) there is a large effect of maternal health on children's health; (4) children who participate in religious services at least once a week have less socio-emotional difficulties compared to children who do not, and (5) breastfeeding has beneficial effect on children's health, while household smoking has negative effect on children's health and well-being.
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