Public Health and Spatial Inequality in Boston - Children

Review of Select Findings in the National Health Interview Survey

At the request of the nonprofit Dudley Street Neighborhood Initiative in Boston, a Tufts University professor of urban and environmental policy and planning documented some of the public health challenges facing communities of color in Boston. The researcher reports on the geographic distribution of children by health situations using data from the Center for Disease Control and Prevention through its National Health Interview Survey and the National Vital Statistics System (2009). The maps illustrate a snapshot of the numbers of children organized by census tracts and neighborhoods, and show spatially based health disparities in Boston.

Maps related to asthma incidents include: Black, Latino and Asian population concentration of asthma, and asthma mapped to location of public schools, public housing and community health centers.

Other maps cover distribution of children with other health issues:

  • Learning disabilities
  • Attention deficit and hyperactivity
  • No dentist visit in last five years
  • Unmet dental need due to cost
  • Last health care visit more than a year ago/less than two years ago
  • Medical care delayed due to cost
  • Two or more emergency department visits last year.

The researcher hopes the maps raise questions for civic, education, health and business stakeholders about significant health disparities in Boston.

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