Bi-Racial/Ethnic Infants and Infant Mortality in the United States

Jamie Mihoko Doyle, University of Pennsylvania
Robert A. Hummer, University of Texas at Austin

Objective: With the growing number of multiethnic persons in the United States, the validity of using only maternal race/ethnicity to categorize infants in studies of birth outcomes becomes questionable. We examine racial/ethnic disparities in infant mortality risk among bi-racial/ethnic groups as compared to their single-race counterparts in the United States using the National Center for Health Statistics (NCHS) Linked Birth/Infant Death files from 1995-1998. Methods: Logistic regression models estimate infant mortality differentials across groups. Results: Clear differences in infant mortality risks are apparent by both maternal and paternal race/ethnicity. Some groups of mixed race/ethnic infants experience very low mortality, while others exhibit higher mortality than their single race/ethnic counterparts. Interestingly, infants for whom the race/ethnicity of father is unreported experience the highest risks of death among all maternal race/ethnic groups. Conclusion: Both maternal and paternal characteristics, including race/ethnicity, should be considered in studies of infant and child health.

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Presented in Session 139: Race, Health, and Mortality II