As per a new study published in The New York Times, two million California births have revealed that the most affluent Black mothers and their babies are twice as likely to die as the wealthiest white mothers and their babies in the United States. The research highlights how childbirth risks vary by race and parental income and how Black families are disproportionately affected regardless of socioeconomic status.
Last month, the National Bureau of Economic Research released a study that includes information on virtually every infant delivered to a first-time mother in California between 2007 and 2016. Many studies have found that Black moms and their newborns have a decreased likelihood of having a healthy baby in the United States.
Yet, this is the first study to examine maternal health risks based on race and socioeconomic level. It emphasizes the disparate impact on Black households at all income levels. Atheendar Venkataramani, an economist at the University of Pennsylvania who did not participate in the study but studies racial health inequalities, termed it an “important publication.”
According to the study, black moms in the top 1% of the income distribution had a higher risk of dying within a year of giving birth than white women in the lowest 10%. White neonates born to low-income moms had a lower risk, whereas Black kids born to rich mothers had a greater risk. There was no evidence of a causal association between educational inequalities and health outcomes.
According to the researchers, these findings suggest that addressing racial disparities in maternal and infant health will require a comprehensive approach that considers the complex interplay of social and economic factors that shape health outcomes. They argue that policies to improve maternal and infant health should focus on reducing systemic racism and increasing access to high-quality healthcare, regardless of race or income.
Overall, the study provides further evidence of the urgent need to address racial disparities in maternal and infant health in the United States. The findings underscore the importance of developing policies and programs that promote equity and ensure that all families, regardless of race or income, have access to the care and resources they need to thrive.
It was also found that babies born to the wealthiest 20% of families in the United States are the least healthy. They are more likely to be born premature and at low birth weight, two key risk factors for medical complications early in life. However, even with these early risk factors, babies born to wealthy families are the most likely to survive their first month and first year of life.
Overall, the study provides further evidence of the complex interplay of social and economic factors that shape maternal and infant health outcomes in the United States. It underscores the need for a comprehensive approach to addressing these disparities, including policies and programs that promote equity and ensure that all families, regardless of income, have access to the care and resources they need to thrive.