The association between the end of court-ordered school desegregation and preterm births among Black women

Menghan Shen

Research output: Contribution to journalArticle


Racial segregation, and in particular school segregation, likely plays an important role in affecting health outcomes. To examine this connection, this paper explores the relationship between the end of court-ordered school desegregation and preterm births among Blacks using birth certificate information between 1992 and 2002 (n = 183,178). The end of court-ordered oversight has important implications for the level of racial segregation in schools: If residential segregation remains high, neighborhood-based student assignment plans would naturally increase school segregation. A rise in school segregation may lead to worse educational, labor, and health outcomes among Blacks. Using multiple difference-in-differences framework that exploits variation in exposure to schools that declared unitary status, it finds that school districts’ release from court oversight is associated with a 0.8 percentage point increase in preterm births among Black mothers. This paper contributes to literature that finds that the end of court-ordered school desegregation in the 1990s have negative implications for Blacks. More research should be conducted to understand the causal relationship between school segregation and infant health.

Original languageEnglish
Article numbere0201372
Pages (from-to)1DUMMY
JournalPLoS One
Issue number8
Publication statusPublished - 2018 Aug 1


ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Biochemistry, Genetics and Molecular Biology(all)
  • Agricultural and Biological Sciences(all)

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