Study: Structural Racism, Historical Redlining, and Preterm Birth in New York City

A new study published this week in the American Journal of Public Health explores the long-term impact of historical redlining on preterm births in New York City.

The study, conducted by the Harvard T.H. Chan School of Public Health’s Professor Nancy Krieger, Pamela D. Waterman and FXB Center for Health and Human Rights Director Mary T. Bassett, and NYC Department of Health and Mental Hygiene epidemiologists, found a higher proportion of preterm births in NYC neighborhoods that were negatively affected by redlining.

Redlining, the racially discriminatory practice of denying home loans to borrowers in communities of color and poor communities based on perceived financial risk, was introduced in the 1930s by the federal government’s Home Owners’ Loan Corporation (HOLC). Areas that were deemed “hazardous” by the HOLC were shaded in red on maps, and banks were encouraged to avoid lending in those areas.

In New York City, for example, neighborhoods that were redlined in the 1930s continue to have higher rates of poor health outcomes today. The authors conclude that historical redlining warrants scrutiny as a social determinant of health.

To read the article, click here.