Differences in the socio-economic distribution of inflammatory bowel disease and microscopic colitis

A. Sonnenberg, K. O. Turner, R. M. Genta

Research output: Contribution to journalArticle

4 Scopus citations


Aim: Inflammatory bowel disease (IBD) and microscopic colitis are characterized by different geographical distributions across the USA. In this cross-sectional study we utilized demographic and socio-economic information associated with individual ZIP codes to further delineate the epidemiological characteristics of the two diseases. Method: A total of 813 057 patients who underwent colonoscopy between 2008 and 2014 were extracted from an electronic database of histopathology reports. The prevalence of patients with IBD or microscopic colitis was expressed as percentage of the population associated with specific demographic (age, sex, ethnicity) and socio-economic characteristics (population size, housing value, annual income, tertiary education). Results: Both diseases were more common among subjects from ZIP codes with predominantly White residents and less common among subjects from ZIP codes with predominantly non-White residents such as Black, Hispanic and Asian. These ethnic variations were more pronounced in microscopic colitis than IBD. Markers of affluence, such as average residential house value and annual income, were positively associated with IBD and negatively with microscopic colitis. The prevalence of both diseases was positively correlated with tertiary education. Conclusion: The occurrence of both IBD and microscopic colitis is influenced by environmental risk factors. The differences in the demographic, ethnic and socio-economic distributions of the two diseases suggest that different sets of risk factors affect the two diseases and that their aetiology is unrelated.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)38-44
Number of pages7
JournalColorectal Disease
Issue number1
StatePublished - Jan 1 2017



  • Demographic characteristics
  • environmental epidemiology
  • socio-economic risk factors
  • ZIP codes

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Gastroenterology

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