Infant mortality differences between whites and African Americans: The effect of maternal education

Rebecca Din-Dzietham, Irva Hertz-Picciotto

Research output: Contribution to journalArticle

26 Scopus citations


Objectives. Despite decreasing infant mortality in North Carolina, the gap between African Americans and Whites persists. This study examined how racial differences in infant mortality vary by maternal education. Methods. Data came from Linked Birth and Infant Death files for 1988 through 1993. Multiple logistic regression models adjusted for confounders. Results. Infant mortality risk ratios comparing African Americans and Whites increased with higher levels of maternal education. Education beyond high school reduced risk of infant mortality by 20% among Whites but had little effect among African Americans. Conclusions. Higher education magnifies racial differences in infant mortality on a multiplicative scale. Possible reasons include greater stress, fewer economic resources, and poorer quality of prenatal care among African Americans.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)651-656
Number of pages6
JournalAmerican Journal of Public Health
Issue number4
StatePublished - 1998
Externally publishedYes


ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Public Health, Environmental and Occupational Health

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