Date of Award

Summer 8-7-2018

Degree Type


Degree Name

Master of Public Health (MPH)


Public Health

First Advisor

Dr. Christine Stauber

Second Advisor

Dr. Richard Rothenberg


Introduction: As the proportion of the world’s population increasingly shifts to urban areas, the concern for urban health will progressively pose more of an imminent issue. Many cities lack the proper infrastructure to accommodate the rapid influx of people and are unequipped or unprepared to address the many public health concerns that have arisen. As the rate of urbanization continues to accelerate globally, it is imperative that its effects on child health are both analyzed and addressed.

Aim: The aim of this study is to analyze urban child health conditions using seven priority health indicators for 57 cities around the world.

Methods: A comparative study of child health indicators across 57 cities was conducted using Demographic and Health Survey (DHS) data between the years 2003-2013. Using standard DHS indicator definitions, various combinations of the 7-priority health indicators were used to develop four Urban Health Index (UHI) scores. The differences in urban child health conditions for each city are compared to one another and a UHI score is generated. UHI scores were used for linear regression analyses for gross national income (GNI) and Gini.

Results: There are clear geographic disparities; the highest UHI scores indicating poorest child health conditions were generally in Africa and Southeast Asia. Within each WHO region, large gaps in UHI scores were observed. Values for UHI scores and GNI predictably had an inverse relationship. However, there are cities that have remarkably proven to be an exception with low UHI scores (indicating good health) and low GNI values. Similarly, within each city there are inequalities in the distribution of wealth. However, there is no indication of an association between country-level Gini and UHI score. Discussion: The variances within regions can be explained by a multitude of factors such as maternal education, political instability, inadequate levels of sanitation, or a lack of medical resources. Additional analyses are needed to examine how much of an impact these factors have on urban child health. Lastly, future studies should explore what factors are positively affecting child health in countries with low GNI and low UHI scores.

Available for download on Thursday, July 25, 2019