Title page for ETD etd-09052006-090942

Type of Document Dissertation
Author Richard, Misty D
Author's Email Address rdrunr7@juno.com
URN etd-09052006-090942
Title Racial Disparities, Birth Outcomes, and Changing Demographics of East Baton Rouge Parish, Louisiana
Degree Doctor of Philosophy (Ph.D.)
Department Pathobiological Sciences (Veterinary Medical Sciences)
Advisory Committee
Advisor Name Title
Martin Hugh-Jones Committee Chair
Andrew Curts Committee Member
James Diaz Committee Member
James Miller Committee Member
Ronald Thune Committee Member
Brij Mohan Dean's Representative
  • racial disparities
  • low birthweight
  • preterm delivery
  • demography
Date of Defense 2006-04-25
Availability unrestricted
Racial and socioeconomic disparities persist throughout the country regardless of which specific disparity is studied; however, some geographic regions experience more significant racial disparities. East Baton Rouge Parish, Louisiana has a large racial disparity among birth outcomes. Many factors impact the degree of racial disparities, some of which include racial segregation, isolation, or centralization, access to and quality of medical care, and factors of the neighborhood environment. EBRP has undergone dramatic shifts in the demographics of its residents. The purpose of this dissertation was to study the demographic changes in the population; as well as to study the disparities among the birth outcomes of infant mortality, low birthweight, and preterm delivery. To conduct this study, GIS and multilevel analysis were heavily utilized.

Census data from 1970, 1980, 1990, and 2000 census periods were used to determine demographic changes in the parish of East Baton Rouge. The analysis found that EBRP is becoming more racially and economically segregated as the surrounding parishes have increased in population and become flourishing suburbs of the city of Baton Rouge. EBRP has experienced all five dimensions of segregation: unevenness, isolation, clustering, centralization, and concentration. Throughout the thirty year study period, the inner-city area of EBRP has continuously become more populated by poor black residents, and the area directly surrounding the inner city has also changed from a predominately white middle-class area to a predominately black middle-class area.

A total of 75,170 birth certificates records from the years 1990 through 2001 were available for analysis. Eight separate multilevel regressions were conducted using data from two census periods at the block group and tract geographic area for both preterm delivery and low birthweight. The multilevel regressions showed that the amount of racial and socioeconomic segregation in the block group or tract were significant in the model. The higher the percentage of black residents in the census area, the more likely a woman is to deliver preterm or a low birthweight infant. A correlation analysis found that high poverty and high percentage of black residents found the two variables to be highly correlated.

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