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Structural racial inequities in socioeconomic status, urban-rural classification, and infant mortality in US counties

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posted on 2023-08-05, 13:02 authored by Jessica L. Owens-Young, Caryn N. Bell

Objectives: Despite improvements in infant mortality rates (IMR) in the United States, racial gaps in IMR remain and may be driven by both structural racism and place. This study assesses the relationship between structural racism and race-specific IMR and the role of urban-rural classification on race-specific IMR and Black/White racial gaps in IMR. Methods: We conducted an analysis of variance tests using 2019 County Health Rankings Data to determine differences in structural racism indicators, IMR and other co-variates by urban-rural classification. We used linear regressions to determine the associations between measures of structural racism and county-level health outcomes. Results: Study results suggest that racial inequities in education, work, and homeownership negatively impact Black IMR, especially in large fringe, medium, and small metro counties, and positively impact White IMR. Structural racism is also associated with Black-White gaps in IMR. Conclusions: Factors related to structural racism may not be homogenous or have the same impacts on overall IMR, race-specific IMR, and racial differences in IMR across places. Understanding these differential impacts can help public health professionals and policymakers improve Black infant health and eliminate racial inequities in IMR.



Ethnicity and Disease


Ethnicity and Disease, Volume 30, Issue 3, September 2020, Pages 389-398.


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