Maternal and Child Health Journal, vol. 20, no. 1, pp. 139 - 148
Maternal and Child Health Journal
OBJECTIVES: Researchers often examine neighborhood socioeconomic environment and health during the perinatal period using geocoded addresses recorded on birth certificates at the time of delivery. Our objective was to assess the potential for post-partum neighborhood misclassification by examining whether women move neighborhoods during the immediate post-partum period, whether they move to neighborhoods of different socioeconomic status (SES), and whether mobility differs by maternal characteristics. METHODS: We used data from the 2003-2007 California Maternal and Infant Heealth Assessment (MIHA), an annual, statewide-representative survey of post-partum women, to examine women's neighborhood mobility patterns between giving birth and completing a survey 2-7 months post-partum. We examined whether women changed neighborhood, whether moves were to neighborhoods of higher, lower, or similar socioeconomic status (SES), and whether these patterns differed by maternal race/ethnicity, maternal SES, or other demographic characteristics. RESULT: Overall, 93% of women either did not move neighborhoods or moved to a neighborhood of similar SES post-partum. Only 4% of women moved to a neighborhood of lower SES and 3% to an area of higher SES. Mothers who were non-Hispanic black or US-born Hispanic, young, unmarried, primiparous, or lower SES were slightly more likely to move overall and more likely to move to neighborhoods with different SES, compared to other women. CONCLUSIONS: These findings suggest that geocoded addresses from birth certificates can be used to estimate women's neighborhood SES during the early post-partum period with little misclassification, an especially relevant finding for researchers using post-partum surveys.