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Explaining trends and variation in excess black infant mortality rate

Akbar Aghajanian, PhD, Department of Sociology, Fayetteville State University, 1200 Murchison Road, Fayetteville, NC 28301, 910-672-2927, aaghajanian@uncfsu.edu and Misty Becker, Research Center for Health Disparities, Fayetteville State University, 1200 Murchison Road, Fayetteville, NC 28301.

Purpose: Analyze excess black infant mortality rate during the period 1960s through 2000 and explain the state differences by specific intervention programs.

Background: During the 1960s and 1970s, black and white infant mortality rates declined significantly. Black rate starting a higher rate showed a much sharper decline during the 1970s. In the last three decades medical technology and infrastructure have expanded significantly. This expansion could have had impact on the level of infant mortality for different communities assuming they have equal access to the medical resources.

Method: We compiled data on infant mortality and neonatal mortality for selected states with different background for the period 1960-2000. We pooled the data for time-series cross-section comparison models to predict excess infant mortality rate.

Results: Infant mortality rate declined significantly among blacks in 1970s. However, the rate of decline slowed down during the 1980s and again improved during the 1990s. Excess black infant mortality increased during the 1990s. Surprisingly the increase in excess infant mortality was found both in the industrial north and in the southern states. Our analysis indicates the differential role of access to prenatal care program as an important factor in excess infant mortality rate.

Conclusions: State focused analysis of excess black IMR is very important for understanding the patter of change. Evaluation of the state programs for accessing prenatal care or similar programs are very important as part of the research for reducing excess black infant mortality rate.

Learning Objectives:

Keywords: Infant Mortality, Infant Health

Presenting author's disclosure statement:

Not Answered

Improving Pregnancy Outcomes

The 134th Annual Meeting & Exposition (November 4-8, 2006) of APHA