Neighborhood Poverty and Physical Health at Midlife: The Role of Life-Course Exposure

Tse Chuan Yang, Scott J. South

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

10 Scopus citations


Studies of the effect of neighborhood poverty on health are dominated by research designs that measure neighborhood poverty at a single point in time, ignoring the potential influence of exposure to neighborhood poverty over the life course. Applying latent class analysis to restricted residential history data from the National Longitudinal Survey of Youth, 1979 Cohort, we identify four trajectories of life-course exposure to high-poverty neighborhoods between adolescence and midlife and then examine how these groups differ in their physical health conditions (SF-12 score) and self-rated health at around age 40. Linear and logistic regression analyses show that life-course exposure to high-poverty neighborhoods is a stronger predictor of midlife physical health than are point-in-time measures of neighborhood poverty observed during either adolescence or midlife. Our findings suggest that a life-course approach can enhance our understanding of how neighborhood poverty affects physical health.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)486-501
Number of pages16
JournalJournal of Urban Health
Issue number4
StatePublished - Aug 1 2020
Externally publishedYes


  • Life course
  • Neighborhood
  • Physical health
  • Poverty
  • SF-12 score
  • Self-rated health

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Health(social science)
  • Urban Studies
  • Public Health, Environmental and Occupational Health


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