Using Social Indicators to Describe Neighborhood-Level Disparities in Adolescent Health in Baltimore City Circa 2017

James P. Senter, Linda Bucay-Harari, Carlos Castillo-Salgado

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

1 Scopus citations


Purpose: The purpose of this study was to use social indicators to compare adolescent health disparities across neighborhoods in Baltimore, Maryland, circa 2017. Neighborhoods heavily influence adolescent health outcomes. Baltimore remains a hypersegregated city along racial boundaries with a recently growing population of Latino immigrant youth. This segregation may promulgate adolescent health disparities, yet the magnitude of needs and how they may differ among Baltimore's minoritized adolescents remain unknown. Methods: The most predominantly white, black, and Latino neighborhoods in Baltimore were analyzed across six indicators relevant to adolescent health: teen birth rate, high school achievement, poverty, health insurance, youth mortality rate, and lead paint violation rate. The indicators were used to create a composite adolescent deprivation index. Measures of absolute and relative disparity were then calculated between white, black, and Latino neighborhood clusters. Results: Both black and Latino neighborhoods had similar adolescent deprivation relative to white neighborhoods. Latino neighborhoods had the highest teen birth rate and children without health insurance. Black neighborhoods had the lowest educational achievement and the highest poverty, youth mortality, and lead paint violation rate. Conclusions: The overall magnitude of social deprivation is similar across communities of color in Baltimore. However, black adolescents tend to live in neighborhoods with greater physical deprivation and youth mortality that limits within-group bonding capacity, whereas Latino adolescents tend to live in neighborhoods with limited health and social resources that prevent between-group bridging capacity. These indicators thus orient policies and programs to promote differential asset-based strategies for positive youth development.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)270-277
Number of pages8
JournalJournal of Adolescent Health
Issue number2
StatePublished - Aug 2020


  • Adolescent
  • Health care disparity
  • Health status indicators
  • Neighborhoods

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Pediatrics, Perinatology, and Child Health
  • Public Health, Environmental and Occupational Health
  • Psychiatry and Mental health


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