Friday, September 08, 2017

Infant mortality hits rural black population hard

A new report by the federal Centers for Disease Control and Prevention has some grim statistics for African American women and for women living in rural area, especially those who are both. One key finding is that infant mortality is higher in rural areas for all races. But infant mortality for all African American babies is much higher, no matter where they live. As Maggie O'Neill of the Daily Mail summarizes, "Black babies born in rural areas of the US are three times more likely to die at birth than city-born white infants."
Axios chart by Chris Canipe; click on it for a larger version
The CDC's findings on rural infant mortality make sense, "since people in rural counties are farther away from hospitals and doctors," Bob Herman reports for Axios. More and more rural hospitals are either closing down or shuttering their obstetrical services, so more than half of rural counties don't have a place where women can go to give birth.

Besides race, the CDC teases out several other specific categories in which rural infant mortality is higher. The mortality rate for postneonatal babies (aged between one and 12 months) is 49 percent higher in rural areas. And though mortality rates for every age group of mothers are higher in rural mothers, the difference is especially pronounced in women who give birth at age 40 or up. Infant mortality in that age group is 54 percent higher than in the same age group in urban areas.

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