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J Urban Health. 2008 Mar;85(2):191-205. doi: 10.1007/s11524-008-9255-1. Epub 2008 Jan 29.

Alcohol availability and neighborhood characteristics in Los Angeles, California and southern Louisiana.

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  • 1Health Program and Drug Policy Research Center, RAND Corporation, 1776 Main Street, P.O. Box 2138, Santa Monica, CA 90407-2138, USA.


The objective of this study was to examine the associations between alcohol availability types and community characteristics in randomly selected census tracts in Southern California and Southeastern Louisiana. Outlet shelf space and price by beverage type was collected from all off-sale alcohol outlets in 189 census tracts by trained research personnel. Three aspects of alcohol availability at the census tract level were considered--outlets per roadway mile, shelf space, and least price by beverage type. Using multivariate analyses, we examined the associations between census tract socioeconomic and demographic characteristics and alcohol availability types. Fifteen measures of alcohol availability were calculated-total shelf space and shelf space by beverage types (beer, malt liquor, and distilled spirits); outlets per roadway mile, per tract, and per capita; and least price by beverage type (including wine). In multivariate analyses controlling for state, male unemployment rate was inversely associated with total shelf space (p = 0.03) and distilled spirit shelf space (p = 0.05). Malt liquor shelf space was inversely associated with percent White (p = 0.02). Outlets per roadway mile was positively associated with household poverty (p < 0.0001), whereas percent African American was inversely associated with outlets per roadway mile (p = 0.03). Beverage-specific least prices were not associated with any socioeconomic or demographic community characteristics. Alcohol availability types, but not least price, were associated with some community characteristics. More research exploring how alcohol availability types vary by community and their relationship to alcohol-related harms should be conducted.

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