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Household crowding index: a correlate of socioeconomic status and inter-pregnancy spacing in an urban setting
  1. I S Melki1,
  2. H A Beydoun2,
  3. M Khogali3,
  4. H Tamim4,
  5. K A Yunis2,
  6. Yunis, for the National Collaborative Perinatal Neonatal Network (NCPNN)*
  1. 1Department of Paediatrics, Hotel Dieu de France Hospital, Beirut, Lebanon
  2. 2Department of Paediatrics, Faculty of Medicine, American University of Beirut, Beirut, Lebanon
  3. 3Department of Family Medicine, Faculty of Medicine, American University of Beirut
  4. 4Department of Epidemiology and Biostatistics, Faculty of Health Sciences, American University of Beirut
  1. Correspondence to:
 Dr K A Yunis
 Department of Paediatrics, American University of Beirut, New York Office, 850 3rd Avenue 18th Floor, New York, NY 10022, USA;


Objectives: This paper examines the effect of household crowding on inter-pregnancy spacing and its association with socioeconomic indicators, among parous mothers delivered in an urban environment.

Design: Cross sectional survey.

Methods: Sociodemographic data were obtained on 2466 parous women delivering at eight hospitals in Greater Beirut over a one year period. Statistical methodology comprised Pearson χ2 test and logistic regression analysis.

Main results: A significant inverse relation was observed between household crowding and socioeconomic status, defined as education and occupation of women and their spouses. Inter-pregnancy spacing increased with higher levels of crowding. Further analysis suggested that this positive association was confounded by maternal demographic characteristics.

Conclusions: These data have shown that household crowding, a correlate of low parental socioeconomic status, is associated with longer birth intervals. This association, however, seems to be largely explained by maternal age and parity.

  • crowding index
  • socioeconomic status
  • spacing
  • NCPNN, National Collaborative Perinatal Neonatal Network
  • HCI, household crowding index

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  • Funding: This work was partially supported by funds from the World Health Organisation (WHO), the Lebanese National Council for Scientific Research (LNCSR), the Medical Practice Plan (MPP), the University Research Board (URB), and the Chairman’s fund at the Paediatrics Department of the American University of Beirut.

  • Conflicts of interest: none declared.

  • * List of NCPNN investigators and institutions (in alphabetical order): A Aaraj (Rassoul Aazam Hospital), M Alameh (Sahel General Hospital), P Chedid (Lebanese University), M Itani (Najjar Hospital), I Melki (Hotel Dieu de France Hospital), F Nassif (St. Charles Hospital), Y Nassif (St. Georges Hospital), M Rajab (Makassed General Hospital), F Shatila (Middle East Hospital), G Wakim (Rizk Hospital), K Yunis (American University of Beirut Medical Centre).

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