How do individual-level sociodemographics and neighbourhood-level characteristics influence residential location behaviour in the context of the food and built environment? Findings from 25 years of follow-up in the CARDIA Study

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Abstract

Background

Little is known about how diet-related and activity-related amenities relate to residential location behaviour. Understanding these relationships is essential for addressing residential self-selection bias.

Methods

Using 25 years (6 examinations) of data from the Coronary Artery Risk Development in Young Adults (CARDIA) study (n=11 013 observations) and linked neighbourhood-level data from the 4 CARDIA baseline cities (Birmingham, Alabama; Chicago, Illinois; Minneapolis, Minnesota; Oakland, California, USA), we characterised participants’ neighbourhoods as having low, average or high road connectivity and amenities using non-hierarchical cluster analysis. We then used repeated measures multinomial logistic regression with random effects to examine the associations between individual-level sociodemographics and neighbourhood-level characteristics with residential neighbourhood types over the 25-year period, and whether these associations differed by individual-level income.

Results

Being female was positively associated with living in neighbourhoods with low (vs high) road connectivity and activity-related and diet-related amenities among high-income individuals only. At all income levels, a higher percentage of neighbourhood white population and neighbourhood population <18 years were associated with living in neighbourhoods with low (vs high) connectivity and amenities. Individual-level race; age; and educational attainment, neighbourhood socioeconomic status and housing prices did not influence residential location behaviour related to neighbourhood connectivity and amenities at any income level.

Conclusions

Neighbourhood-level factors appeared to play a comparatively greater role in shaping residential location behaviour than individual-level sociodemographics. Our study is an important step in understanding how residential locational behaviour relates to amenities and physical activity opportunities, and may help mitigate residential self-selection bias in built environment studies.

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