Document Type

Working Paper

Publication Date



In the United States and other high-income countries, where most people live in cities, there is intense scholarly and program interest in the effects of household and neighborhood living standards on health. This paper investigates whether in these cities the health of women and young children is influenced by both household and neighborhood standards of living. 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 one in ten of a poor household’s neighbors is relatively affluent, belonging to the upper quartile of the urban distribution of living standards. Neighborhood living standards exert significant influence on health in many of the surveys we examine, especially in birth attendance. There is considerable evidence indicating that both household and neighborhood living standards can make a substantively important difference to health.





Measures of Urban Poverty