Background: Nitrogen dioxide (N[O.sub.2]) is a marker for traffic-related air pollution, which exhibits strong spatial gradients in large cities. Previous studies have shown that in Canadian cities, exposure to ambient N[O.sub.2] is greater in neighbourhoods of low socioeconomic status (SES). As a result of these differences in exposure, air pollution-related health problems may be more prevalent among children in lower SES urban neighbourhoods. Data and methods: Children younger than age 18 enumerated in the 2006 Census who lived in Toronto, Montreal or Vancouver were linked to published air pollution exposure land use regression models to assign exposure at the Dissemination Area (DA) level. Associations between both socioeconomic and visible minority status and exposure to ambient N[O.sub.2] among children in these three cities were examined in a series of regression models (OLS and simultaneous autoregressive models that account for spatial autocorrelation). Results: Children in lower income DAs in all three cities were exposed to higher N[O.sub.2] concentrations than were children in higher income DAs (mean difference of 2 ppb between lowest and highest income quintiles). In some cities, DAs with larger percentages of children in lone-parent families and visible minority children were characterized by greater N[O.sub.2] exposure. Interpretation: The relatively high incidence of air pollution-related diseases (for example, asthma) among children in lower SES neighbourhoods may be attributable, at least in part, to variations in N[O.sub.2] air pollution exposure within the same city. Key words: Air pollution, asthma, environmental health, income quintile, nitrogen dioxide
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