The relationship between income inequality and maternal mortality for black and white mothers
(1) The Neighborhood Academy, Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania
Previous research has suggested that Black mothers die more often than White mothers during childbirth, and this may be due to income inequality and structural racism. The purpose of our study is to measure the relationship between the Gini coefficient, a common measure of income inequality, and Black and White maternal mortality rates by state and year. Data were obtained from the American Community Survey and the CDC; we then examined the relationships between the Gini coefficients and the maternal mortality rates for Black and White mothers. We found that overall, Black women's maternal mortality rate was higher each year between 2003 and 2019. Our first hypothesis was that there would be a positive relationship between the Gini coefficient and the maternal mortality rate by state; this was not supported, and neither White nor Black women’s maternal mortality rates had a significant relationship with the state’s Gini coefficient. Our second hypothesis was that there would be a positive relationship between the race-specific Gini coefficient and Black and White maternal mortality rates by year. This was partially supported; a positive relationship was found for the White maternal mortality rate but not for the Black maternal mortality rate. Therefore, we concluded that income inequality might affect White women more, but race and income matter overall for Black women, considering the clear disparity between Black and White mortality rates.
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