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Racial Differentials in Infant Mortality in the U.S.: An Examination of Social and Health Determinants

Robert A. Hummer
Social Forces
Vol. 72, No. 2 (Dec., 1993), pp. 529-554
Published by: Oxford University Press
DOI: 10.2307/2579860
Stable URL: http://www.jstor.org/stable/2579860
Page Count: 26
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Racial Differentials in Infant Mortality in the U.S.: An Examination of Social and Health Determinants
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Abstract

This article examines the association between race and infant mortality in the U.S. Beginning with a sociological conceptualization of race, a framework is developed that delineates sociodemographic and proximate factors thought to be instrumental in the association between infant mortality and race. Recently available nationally representative data are used to examine this association. Descriptive analysis illustrates that the racial gap in infant mortality is nearly identical for endogenous and exogenous causes of death, with the overall rate of infant mortality among African Americans about 2.2 times higher than that for non-Hispanic white Americans. Logistic regression analysis confirms that each set of variables is instrumental in explaining the racial mortality gap, with sociodemographic factors more relevant for differences in exogenous causes and maternal health and health care factors more relevant to the gap in endogenous causes.

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