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Racial and Ethnic Disparities in Infant Mortality, 1990–2004: Low Birth Weight, Maternal Complications and Other Causes

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Applied Demography and Public Health in the 21st Century

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Abstract

Demographers have long been interested in understanding persistent racial and ethnic gaps in infant mortality, which are likely a reflection of disproportionately distributed resources across groups. Using micro-level cohort linked birth-death files from the National Center for Health Statistics (NCHS) for the years 1990, 2000, and 2004, we estimate multinomial logistic regressions to examine race and ethnicity-specific trends in risk of infant death due to low birthweight , maternal complications, and other causes over time. We further investigate whether or not a survival advantage by gestational age and birthweight varies across racial and ethnic groups. We found that risk of death has increased for non-Hispanic black infants, and that the beneficial effect of Hispanic ethnicity is reduced over time. We further found that both race and ethnicity interact with preterm and/or low birthweight delivery to magnify risk of death due to several causes in later years. Overall, this research confirms the presence of an increasing black-white infant mortality gap, lends support to findings of a survival disadvantage in Black infants, and calls attention to a survival disadvantage in Hispanic infants. Additional attention to the mechanisms that generate magnified risk of infant death among racial and ethnic minorities who experience compromised births, i.e. preterm or low birthweight, is needed.

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Acknowledgments

A previous version of this paper was presented at the 2015 Annual Meetings of the Population Association of America in San Diego, CA. The authors would like to express their gratitude for helpful comments from the conference participants.

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Correspondence to Ginny Garcia .

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Garcia, G., Woo, H. (2017). Racial and Ethnic Disparities in Infant Mortality, 1990–2004: Low Birth Weight, Maternal Complications and Other Causes. In: Hoque, M., Pecotte, B., McGehee, M. (eds) Applied Demography and Public Health in the 21st Century. Applied Demography Series, vol 8. Springer, Cham. https://doi.org/10.1007/978-3-319-43688-3_8

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  • DOI: https://doi.org/10.1007/978-3-319-43688-3_8

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