Health Selection Into Eviction: Adverse Birth Outcomes and Children's Risk of Eviction Through Age 5 Years

Publication Year


Journal Article

Adverse birth outcomes put children at increased risk of poor future health. They also put families under sudden socioeconomic and psychological strain, which has poorly understood consequences. We tested whether infants experiencing an adverse birth outcome—low birthweight or prematurity, as well as lengthy hospital stays—were more likely to be evicted in early childhood, through age 5 years. We analyzed 5,655 observations contributed by 2,115 participants in the Fragile Families and Child Wellbeing Study—a national, randomly sampled cohort of infants born in large US cities between 1998 and 2000—living in rental housing at baseline. We fitted proportional hazards models using piecewise logistic regression, controlling for an array of confounders and applying inverse probability of selection weights. Having been born low birthweight or preterm was associated with a 1.74-fold increase in children's hazard of eviction (95% confidence interval: 1.02, 2.95), and lengthy neonatal hospital stays were independently associated with a relative hazard of 2.50 (95% confidence interval: 1.15, 5.44) compared with uncomplicated births. Given recent findings that unstable housing during pregnancy is associated with adverse birth outcomes, our results suggest eviction and health may be cyclical and co-constitutive. Children experiencing adverse birth outcomes are vulnerable to eviction and require additional supports.

American Journal of Epidemiology