Neighborhood Social Cohesion and Smoking among Legal and Unauthorized Brazilian Migrants in Metropolitan Boston

Louisa M. Holmes, Enrico A. Marcelli

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

14 Scopus citations


Tobacco smoking is estimated to be the largest preventable cause of mortality in the USA, but little is known about the relationship between neighborhood social environment and current smoking behavior or how this may differ by population and geography. We investigate how neighborhood social cohesion and disorder are associated with smoking behavior among legal and unauthorized Brazilian migrant adults using data from the 2007 Harvard-UMASS Boston Metropolitan Immigrant Health and Legal Status Survey (BM-IHLSS), a probabilistic household survey of adult Brazilian migrants. We employ logistic regression to estimate associations between neighborhood social cohesion, neighborhood disorder, and current smoking. We find that neighborhood-level social cohesion is associated with lower likelihood of being a current smoker (O.R. =.836; p <.05), and neighborhood disorder, measured as crime experienced in the neighborhood, is not associated with current smoking. Neighborhood population density, age, being male, and residing with someone who smokes are each positively associated with current smoking (p <.10). The health of participants’ parents at the age of 35, being married, and individual earnings are associated with a reduction in the probability of being a current smoker (p <.05). Migrant legal status and length of residence in the USA are not associated with current smoking. Our findings suggest that neighborhood social cohesion may be protective against smoking. Alternatively, neighborhood disorder does not appear to be related to current smoking among Brazilian migrants.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)1175-1188
Number of pages14
JournalJournal of Urban Health
Issue number6
StatePublished - Nov 25 2014

All Science Journal Classification (ASJC) codes

  • Health(social science)
  • Urban Studies
  • Public Health, Environmental and Occupational Health


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