Socioeconomic Status and Infant Mortality in the United States: Variation by Race, Ethnicity, and Maternal Age

Gracia Sierra , University of Texas at Austin

I construct an enhanced measure of socioeconomic status to examine socioeconomic disparities in infant mortality in the U.S. I document how the socioeconomic gradient of infant mortality varies by race, ethnicity, and nativity status. I examine whether the association between socioeconomic status and infant mortality varies by maternal age for the different subpopulations. I find significant heterogeneity in the socioeconomic gradient with whites exhibiting a stronger association between socioeconomic status and infant mortality, and Hispanics exhibiting a weaker association. Within each subpopulation, socioeconomically disadvantaged women undergo a faster health deterioration as maternal age increases compared to their advantaged counterparts. Disadvantaged women have excess mortality relative to their advantaged counterparts across the entire maternal age distribution. The disparity increases with age which is consistent with the weathering framework. My results highlight the importance of looking at the interplay among socioeconomic status, race/ethnicity, and maternal age to understand disparities in infant mortality.

See paper

 Presented in Session 11. Health & Mortality 2