Racial/ethnic composition, social disorganization, and offsite alcohol availability in San Diego County, California

Amie L. Nielsen, Terrence D. Hill, Michael T. French, Monique N. Hernandez

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

32 Scopus citations


We draw upon social disorganization theory to examine the effects of community characteristics on the distribution of offsite alcohol outlets in San Diego County, California. Of particular interest is whether alcohol availability varies according to neighborhood racial/ethnic composition once measures of social disorganization (socioeconomic disadvantage, residential instability, and racial/ethnic heterogeneity) are controlled. Using data from the 1990 Census and 1993 alcohol license reports, we estimate a series of negative binomial regression models with corrections for spatial autocorrelation. The results show that percent Asian is associated with lower offsite alcohol outlet density. Once socioeconomic disadvantage is controlled, percent Latino is related to lower alcohol availability. Although similar suppressor patterns are observed, percent Black is generally unrelated to outlet density. Consistent with social disorganization theory, socioeconomic disadvantage and residential instability predict increased alcohol availability. Neighborhood racial/ethnic composition is either unrelated or inversely related to outlet density once social disorganization and other neighborhood characteristics are taken into account.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)165-175
Number of pages11
JournalSocial Science Research
Issue number1
StatePublished - Jan 2010


  • Alcohol availability
  • Alcohol outlets
  • Neighborhoods
  • Race and ethnicity
  • Social disorganization theory

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Education
  • Sociology and Political Science


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