Tobacco Outlet Density and Demographics at the Tract Level of Analysis in New Jersey: A Statewide Analysis

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Aim: Geographic relationships between tobacco outlet density and demographics were examined at the tract level in New Jersey, a Northeastern US state. Method: Data for 1938 residential census tracts were analyzed. The 2000 TIGER/Line files were used to geocode addresses of licensed tobacco-selling retail outlets. Median income, percent African-American residents, and percent Hispanic residents were based on year 2000 census data. Address matching with ArcGIS® resulted in successful geocoding of 13,984 (93.1%) outlets. Findings: Results showed that outlet density was significantly related with demographics. Tracts with greater density of tobacco outlets tended to have lower median household income and higher percentages of African-American or Hispanic residents. Cluster analysis of tracts resulted in a three-cluster solution, identifying high, medium and low areas of disparity. The high disparity area was characterized by tracts with the highest tobacco outlet density, the highest percentages of African-American and Hispanic residents, the lowest percentage of white residents, and the lowest median income. Further analysis showed that while there were significant associations between tobacco outlet density and all three demographic variables across the state, such associations varied in each of the three clusters. Conclusions: Results may be used to inform strategic planning and policy decisions on a statewide basis.



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