Multi-Level Socioenvironmental Contributors to Childhood Asthma in New York City: a Cluster Analysis

Sana Khan, Sarah Bajwa, Diksha Brahmbhatt, Stephanie Lovinsky-Desir, Perry E. Sheffield, Jeanette A. Stingone, Sheng Li

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

11 Scopus citations


Childhood asthma exacerbation remains the leading cause of pediatric emergency department visits and hospitalizations and disproportionately affects Latinx and Black children, compared to non-Latinx White children in NYC. Environmental exposures and socioeconomic factors may jointly contribute to childhood asthma exacerbations; however, they are often studied separately. To better investigate the multiple contributors to disparities in childhood asthma, we compiled data on various individual and neighborhood level socioeconomic and environmental factors, including education, race/ethnicity, income disparities, gentrification, housing characteristics, built environment, and structural racism, from the NYC Department of Health’s KIDS 2017 survey and the US Census’ American Community Survey. We applied cluster analysis and logistic regression to first identify the predominant patterns of social and environmental factors experienced by children in NYC and then estimate whether children experiencing specific patterns are more likely to experience asthma exacerbations. We found that housing and built environment characteristics, such as density and age of buildings, were the predominant features to differentiate the socio-environmental patterns observed in New York City. Children living in neighborhoods with greater proportions of rental housing, high-density buildings, and older buildings were more likely to experience asthma exacerbations than other children. These findings add to the literature about childhood asthma in urban environments, and can assist efforts to target actionable policies and practices that promote health equity related to childhood asthma.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)700-710
Number of pages11
JournalJournal of Urban Health
Issue number6
StatePublished - Dec 2021


  • Asthma
  • Cluster analysis
  • Environmental health
  • Health equity


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